12 Sep 2011

Senior doctors to resume pay talks with DHBs

2:46 pm on 12 September 2011

Pay talks are to resume between senior doctors and their employers after they stalled over the cost of a proposed settlement.

Formal talks ended between both sides on 12 April, shortly before doctors released a business case with an overall price tag of $360 million.

Senior doctors say the figures in the business case were not a pay claim, but rather the cost to district health boards over three years of a pay rise and other measures needed to address what they say is a medical workforce crisis.

Both sides have now agreed to a further day of talks at the end of the month in Wellington.

The chair of the DHBs' employment relations strategy group, Graham Dyer, says they agree on many points, but cannot afford a $360 million price tag.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell says the talks this month will focus on issues other than pay, but that will have to be resolved at some stage.

"We have too many shortages, we have too many senior doctors working excessive hours and we don't have enough senior doctors able to be involved in wider decision-making beyond their clinical practice."

The doctors' employment contract expired in April last year.