Te Whatu Ora’s workforce data mystifies doctors

Published: August 22, 2023

Senior doctors are mystified by many of the figures Te Whatu Ora is issuing in response to yesterday’s vote to strike, says ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton. “Their figures about average earnings of a senior doctor, pay increases they claim to be offering and number of new senior doctors they have recruited are hard to fathom, news to us and have not been discussed during bargaining.”

In Mid 2022 ASMS requested data from each Te Whatu Ora district about the average specialist salary they paid. Figures then ranged from $219, 992 to $235,337. (Note: three districts– Bay of Plenty, MidCentral and Capital and Coast – did not respond).

The current collective agreement for specialist doctors and dentists includes 15 salary steps starting on $170,369 and peaking at $250,560.

“If doctors are being paid more it is because they are doing extra duties. Some of that is people being paid to cover the work of missing doctors.

“We are bargaining over increases to the base salary steps for senior doctors and our claims range from $13,786 to $17,417 on each step. Te Whatu Ora have not offered $26,000 on any base rate.

“Our claim simply seeks a CPI adjustment this year. Te Whatu Ora continue to offer real pay cuts in the face of ongoing medical workforce shortages.

“We would welcome specific information about SMO recruitment, as many services are critically understaffed. One ED has 90 medical roster gaps in the next three months. Several mental health services have 60% vacancies and no applicants in sight.

“It’s time Te Whatu Ora lifted the lid on its workforce data.”