Cross Cover is defined in the STONZ Collective as "where an RMO covers the rostered duties of another RMO who is absent between 0700 and 1730 hours Monday to Friday."
The final decision to provide cross-cover should always fall to the RMO taking into account their current workload and the proposed workload. There can be a medico-legal implication of providing cross-cover, and no RMO should be placed in an unsafe position with regard to workload.
An RMO who believes they have been placed in a situation as a result of cross cover which they believe will compromise patient care shall in the first instance advise the appropriate Clinical Director and/or manager of the situation, and if the situation persists the RMO cannot be obliged to undertake professional responsibilities that compromise the safety of his or her patients.
Where an RMO feels safe to provide cross cover, in hours they shall be paid an additional $165 in recognition of the increased workload. Note - until October 2023 this rate is escalated to $300.
Out of Hours Cross Cover
Out of hours cross cover is prohibited in the STONZ Collective Agreement.
"Where there is a roster vacancy for any reason outside of ordinary hours it is the responsibility of the employer to arrange cover by an at least equivalent replacement suitably qualified medical practitioner."
This means in order to be compliant with the collective agreement, absences from the roster for evenings, nights, public holidays and weekends must be filled in a like-for-like manner e.g., an RMO on duty must be replaced by an at least equivalent suitably qualified medical practitioner on duty.
However, unfortunately, we know that cross-cover outside of ordinary hours is occurring and due to the pressures on the system currently, in many areas, there are few other options. Unions and Te Whatu Ora are meeting regularly to work through where cross-cover is occurring frequently and working to support regional and local level solutions. However, to have informed discussions and better support sustainable long-term solutions we need accurate and up to date data. This is where we are asking for your help.
Should you be placed in the position that you have performed out of hours cross cover we encourage you to report this breach using the below form.
Note: If you have covered for an absent RMO after-hours e.g., there should be 2 RMOs, but there is only 1. You should be paid the relevant additional duty rate for the shift.
We know how tough it is at the moment, so thank you for your continued mahi and dedication to supporting our communities and patients.
The STONZ Team