I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year’s, and that you have been able to get some time off over the busy holiday period. I was able to go back to the UK for the first time in 4 years to see my family, and for some much-needed rest, which has definitely reminded me about the importance of taking the leave you are entitled to.
We know this is a very busy time for everyone, including those moving around the country and starting new jobs and having many new experiences. First year house officers started 2 weeks ago, and registrar changeover is this week. Make sure you know what you’re entitled to claim. The transfer expenses flowchart can be found HERE, and if you have any questions about your contract, please contact the support team or your local delegates, who are all happy to help. If you have moved hospitals, please remember to update your details HERE.
It has also been scary and devastating to see the destruction over the past few days in the North Island, particularly Auckland. If there is any support or help, we can offer, please get in touch. We hope that Districts and hospitals provide flexibility if needed, as many will have to start working through the huge clean-up, and I know of colleagues who have had accommodation fall through at the last minute in what is already a very stressful time. On a personal note, it was certainly challenging moving to Auckland this weekend in my not very flood proof car, having to drive around slips and through flooded roads (not to mention having to send out a mayday call on the ferry as we lost engine power!)
Personally, I am also watching the unfolding situation with junior doctors in the UK with interest. If people are unaware, the NHS is in crisis with ambulance queues lasting 12 hours outside A&Es, people in corridors for days at a time due to lack of beds, and significant staffing and workforce difficulties. Junior doctors are balloting to strike for full pay restoration, and I would urge our government to learn from the situation and ensure this does not become a reality in New Zealand! The STONZ team are acutely aware of the issues facing our workforce and continue to advocate both at a local and national level for sustainable solutions and heading back into negotiations later this year will also give us another opportunity to address our concerns.
In other news, STONZ are very excited that the meals pilots are starting this week. We know that our union is divided 50/50 on continuing with meals being provided by the employer versus having an allowance, and we hope this pilot will work through some of the operational challenges and provide us with good feedback as to whether it’s something that might be feasible long-term, or not. So, watch this space!
Not sure how we are at the end of January already, but wherever you are working across our hospitals in Aotearoa I wish you all the very best for the new RMO year. And for those new House Officers starting your RMO journey, welcome! And just remember, you are not alone – we’ve been in your shoes not too long ago and are here to help and offer advice if you need it.
Emma, Non- Training Registrar Representative