20 Sep 2005

New Zealand Medical Association wary of entering Samoan dispute

1:42 pm on 20 September 2005

New Zealand's Medical Association has reacted guardedly to suggestions New Zealand doctors could do the work of striking doctors in Samoa.

Samoa's government-funded doctors walked off the job over a week ago in a bid for more pay and better working conditions.

The head of clinical services at the public hospital, Dr Stanley Dean, says he understands the Government is asking some Samoan doctors working in New Zealand to return to Samoa to temporarily fill gaps at the public hospital during the industrial crisis.

The chairman of the New Zealand Medical Association, Dr Ross Boswell, says he's not aware of any such approach but getting involved would have its difficulties.

For a start, New Zealand doctors may not have medical registration in Samoa, and there would be differences between the medical systems in the two countries which doctors would have to adjust to.

Dr Boswell says he thinks Samoa's government and doctors need to sort out the matter between themselves - but says that if doctors in Samoa refuse to provide emergency treatment, the New Zealand Medical Association would consider getting involved in the dispute.