More than 1600 resident doctors have written an open letter to the Minister of Health, Dr David Clark, venting their frustration about their industrial dispute with the District Health Boards and requesting his support.

The letter, sent on January 31, outlines their position in the dispute with the DHBs and calls on the Minister to support them in achieving a fair deal.

The letter, which remains open, states that the doctors are “saddened and angered by the clawbacks that have been put to us by the DHBs in order to settle our collective agreement”.

“All we are asking for is to retain our existing agreement and receive a salary increase in line with other health sector pay increases. However, at every turn we are met with an unwillingness from the DHBs to move from their fixed position to claw back hard fought – and for us essential – protections,” reads the letter.

“To be absolutely clear, we do not agree to the removal of our union’s agreement from clauses which protect us, and we will not agree to lesser terms and conditions which may see us working unsafely.”

However, the DHBs’ spokesman Dr Peter Bramley says the DHBs continue to negotiate in good faith.

“Our overarching objectives remain the same – quality patient care that provides meaningful training in a safe working environment.

“Our proposal does involve the RDA giving up the ability to veto rosters and training arrangements agreed at a DHB level.  We believe there are options that support better care and safe working as in our agreement with the other RMO union, Specialty Trainees of New Zealand, SToNZ.

“DHBs will continue to engage in good faith and try to find a way through this,” says Dr Bramley.

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