27 Oct 2010

Rosters more important than pay rise, DHBs told

7:29 pm on 27 October 2010

Junior doctors say they have told employers that better rosters are more important to them than a pay rise.

Junior hosptial doctors and district health boards have been involved in a tense stand-off over major changes proposed by the DHBs to the doctors' collective employment contract.

The DHBs had offered a 2% rise in return for the changes and more time to consider wider issues.

The president of the Resident Doctors Association, Curtis Walker, says junior doctors put a counter proposal to the DHBs in the talks, which ended in Auckland on Wednesday afternoon.

He says instead of a pay rise, junior doctors want the money to go towards employing more doctors where it can be demonstrated that extra doctors would make rosters safer.

Dr Walker says the change doctors most want is a four-day weekend after working 10 days in a row.

However, district health boards on Wednesday poured cold water on the counter-offer, saying they can not see how a union-controlled fund would work.

The DHB negotiators say it appears the junior doctors have rejected the 2% offer and accused the union of playing games.

Separately, medical laboratory workers at blood banks in Auckland, Waikato, Palmerston North and Christchurch were striking on Wednesday over pay.