48. Job Descriptions

48.1  All employees are entitled to mutually agreed job descriptions. The following is provided as the recommended guideline.  For ease of reference and clarity, the job description should have several distinct sections:

(a)  a list of clinical activities required of the particular position;

(b)  an express statement about the standards against which the clinical performance will be assessed and judged;

(c)  a list of non-clinical or “other professional” activities required of the particular position;

(d)  a summary of key administrative details;

(e)  a description of clinical or other management duties, if the position has a clinical leadership or management function;

(f)  if appropriate, an agreed statement or list of specific objectives for the particular position; and

(g)  other relevant matters and legislation such as the Treaty of Waitangi and the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

48.2  Job Descriptions should include the following sections;

(a)  Section One

This section should contain the following minimum information:

Employee’s name


This should be a succinct statement of the role, including any sub-specialist or special interests e.g. Specialist Urologist; Specialist General Surgeon or Specialist General Physician with an interest in Rheumatology; Specialist Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.

Reporting to:

This will contain a clear statement of the position(s) to whom the employee reports and for what purposes, i.e. clinical matters and other matters.  It is unlikely there will be more than two such positions.  For all clinical matters, the “manager” is likely to be a senior medical or dental officer within the organisation and would ordinarily be the clinical leader or head of department (or applicable designation within each employer).

Level of Authority:

This should contain a clear statement of any delegations (eg, staff and/or financial) this position may hold.

Nature of Appointment:

This will be a statement as to whether the position is full-time, part-time, a locum or some other form of fixed term appointment.  It should also record the total “size” of the job.

Weekly or Fortnightly Timetable:

At the time of appointment, each employee is entitled to a schedule of fixed or routine duties, including a weekly timetable.  It will also record the free days or half-days in each week.

Summary of On-Call Duties:

If the employee is required to be on an after-hours’ roster, there should be a clear statement to that effect.  This section should also state the size or frequency of the roster e.g. 1:4 or 1:8 and the usual level of resident medical officer support that clearly indicates whether the call is 1st or 2nd call.

Variation to Job Descriptions:

Job descriptions shall be varied from time to time to record any agreed changes to rosters and staffing levels.

(b)  Section Two

This section will contain a statement to the following effect.

The medical (or dental) practitioner is required to undertake their clinical responsibilities and to conduct themselves in all matters relating to their employment, in accordance with best practice and relevant ethical and professional standards and guidelines, as determined from time to time by:

  • the New Zealand Medical Association’s code of ethics;
  • the practitioner’s relevant medical college(s) and/or professional association(s);
  • the New Zealand Medical (or Dental) Council;
  • the Health and Disability Commissioner; and
  • the employer’s policies and procedures except to the extent that they may be inconsistent with any other provision of this Agreement.

(c)  Section Three

This section should contain a reasonably comprehensive list of the clinical duties and activities required of the particular position.  It will vary according to the specialty and the nature of the appointment.  It should also reflect any relevant college requirements.

The list of clinical duties might include some or all of the following activities:

– outpatient and other clinics– ward rounds and ward work
– pre-theatre assessments– operating lists
– post-operative recovery– reading and responding to patient referral letters
– multi-disciplinary meetings, case conferences and reviews– research and study related to the treatment of a specific patient
– telephone and other ad hoc consultations– community health promotion activities
– discussions and meetings with care givers and patients’ families– preparation of police, coroner, legal, ACC and similar reports

(d)  Section Four

This section should contain a reasonably comprehensive list of the non-clinical duties or other professional activities not covered by Section Three, required of the particular position or individual.

The parties note that the Council of Medical Colleges of New Zealand endorses that these non-clinical or Section Four activities should make up at least 30% of the total job size, not counting the average hours worked on the after-hours on-call rosters and any Section Five duties (refer Clause 11.7 above).

A list of non-clinical duties might contain any or all of the following activities:

– CME and professional self-development– teaching, including preparation time
– audit and quality assurance and improvement activities– supervision and oversight of others
– grand rounds– service or department administration
– research– planning meetings
– clinical pathway development– credentialling

(e)  Section Five

If the position has a clinical leadership or service management role, this section should contain an agreed description of those duties.

(f)  Section Six

If the position requires it and the parties agree, this section may contain a list of specific objectives which will be reviewed and updated in accordance with agreed timeframes.

(g)  Section Seven

Job descriptions should detail any other matters such as Treaty of Waitangi obligations and the Health and Safety in Employment Act requirements.