Influenza Immunisation Survey Results

In Issue 22 of the RDA NEWS we included a piece called ‘Tis the Flu season’ which discussed the seriousness of influenza and the importance of immunisation amongst doctors and other healthcare workers. Winter is fast approaching and shortly the DHBs will be seeking to get staff immunised!

A survey was undertaken by the NZRDA to ascertain whether our members in DHB employment received the influenza immunisation in 2014 and asked ‘why not?’ of those who chose not to receive it. The same survey was also available to other unions including APEX and NZMLWU members. The purpose of this survey was to identify why healthcare workers choose not to get immunised for influenza. We wanted to use the survey findings to work in a more targeted manner with DHBs to improve the overall coverage rates. The target coverage rate is 80%.

Members were provided standard options as to why they chose not to get immunised. Members could also provide any other alternative reason such as “I was out of New Zealand at the time.”
The survey was open for just over two weeks and produced some interesting results. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and provided feedback on what is a very important issue!

Out of the NZRDA members who responded to the survey a total of 88% received the influenza immunisation last year. This result is greater than the 68% Ministry of Health figure (inclusive of all doctors (RMOs and SMOs)). This 20% difference in immunisation coverage rates could reflect the correlation between union leadership and high membership engagement or could be a statistical result of more people who were vaccinated responding to the survey. In addition, this result may indicate that a greater number of RMOs compared with SMOs choose to get the immunisation.

The most common response NZRDA members gave regarding why you did not get immunised (at 51%) was that you ‘did not get around to it’. Essentially indicating that even if the doctor was aware of where and when the immunisation was taking place they were simply too busy to go and get it! This reason is distinct from experiencing difficulty in regards to accessing the immunisation.

The findings indicate that there is a need to have a targeted procedure in place to ensure the vaccine is readily available to all doctors during your busy schedules. It is important that there is the least amount of ‘waiting time’ where possible. Some members commented that vaccinating staff who positioned themselves outside the hospital cafe during lunch was a successful approach!

Ideally, where possible, DHBs would arrange for vaccinating staff to go directly to the doctor instead of relying on the doctor to locate the vaccinating staff. One member commented: “CCDHB makes it particularly easy with “roaming vaccinators”… One of the nurses was wearing an “ask me for the flu vaccine” badge. So I asked, as I had not yet found time to attend the vaccine clinic. He went off, got the vaccine and consent form, then gave me the jab right then. I did not even have to leave my seat and my work flow wasn’t interrupted in the slightest. Now that’s convenient.”

Interestingly, the most common response amongst APEX and NZMLWU members was because ‘it was not necessary’ – thus further education around the benefits of the vaccine may be helpful for this group. The findings make clear that if the DHBs adopted distinct approaches, each responding in a targeted way to the particular needs of different healthcare worker groups (as opposed to a one-fits-all approach) then this would likely yield an increase in coverage rates across all hospitals.

The DHB by DHB breakdown of results received gave an indication of where targeting (in terms of using a more tailored approach and specified resources) is most necessary to achieve increased coverage rates for the healthcare worker groups. An understanding of the ‘why’ or rather the ‘why not’ is essential in order to successfully improve overall influenza immunisation coverage rates.

Although not a reason for choosing not to get immunised, some members did comment (in the general feedback section of the survey) that receiving further education about the influenza immunisation would be helpful in order to be more informed on the issue. The Influenza Immunisation Survey findings have been passed onto the DHBs and we are awaiting their feedback!

Note: your delegates will be working with the DHBs to improve ease of vaccinations for RMOs (such as at handover). If you have any ideas or experience any difficulties with regards to vaccinations then do not hesitate to get in touch with your delegate or us here at the NZRDA office.

2015 Medical Council of New Zealand Elections

The Medical Council Election results came out on March 27. NZRDA was very excited to hear that Dr Curtis Walker (immediate past president of NZRDA) was elected as council representative. Congratulations to Dr Curtis Walker for being elected to the Medical Council and to the other successful candidates also. The four highest polling nominees out of the 15 candidates (in order of those who received the most amount votes) were: Dr Curtis Walker, Dr Pamela Hale, Dr Jonathan Fox (returning council member) and Dr Kathryn Baddock. Thank you to everyone who took an interest in the MCNZ Elections and voted!

NZRDA National Executive Members

NZRDA would like to congratulate and welcome the three new members to the NZRDA National Executive. Dr Orazio Di Bartolo (Auckland DHB), Dr Helen Saywell (Capital and Coast DHB) and Dr Abby Clement (GPEP) have all been appointed to fill vacancies. The National Executive is in essence our board of directors and is charged with the responsibility of running the Association between AGM’s. The National Executive acts upon input from members after being channelled through workplace representatives (our delegates!). Please visit our website (under the ‘About’ tab) to view all the members of the NZRDA National Executive.

GPEP Update

The RNZCGP has made an offer of settlement – which parallels the percentage pay rise achieved with the DHBs MECA bargaining – for the 2014/2016 GPEP training years. This has been sent to the members for feedback and we are currently in the process of drafting a new SECA. Once this has been completed, you will be notified and the offer will be put onto the website. Current GPEP’s will receive a ratification ballot online. Keep an eye out for this ballot and other GPEP updates!

2015 NZRDA Delegates Training

At the end of March the 2015 NZRDA Delegates Training and AGM took place in Auckland city and on Waiheke Island. The main points of topic covered were: DHB MECA Bargaining and GPEP Bargaining, MECA Provisions (Interpretation, Application and Operation), Pipeline, Training, Health and Wellbeing and Medical Indemnity. Amongst all the work there was of course time to have fun too – the delegates took part in outdoor activities and ate a lot of good food! We will have a full review of the Delegates Training written by the delegates themselves (accompanied by photos) coming to you soon. Please note the following NZRDA Delegates Training and AGM dates for 2016: Wednesday the 16th to Saturday the 19th of March. Below are delegates hard at work attending training:

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E-Portfolio

It has come to our attention that E-Portfolio may not be going as swimmingly as everyone had hoped… We have a vested interest in making sure E-Portfolio provides valuable information that inter alia we can use for future lobbying, advocacy and in bargaining. To that end, please email to us your feedback or any issues that you have encountered with regards to carrying out E-Portfolio. Shortly, NZRDA will be engaging with the MCNZ for the purposes of trying to improve this system.

Public Holiday Entitlement

NZRDA receives a number of public holiday entitlement queries. It is important that you are aware of your rights in this area to ensure that you get a well-deserved break and that you are paid correctly.

The Holidays Act 2003 provides the minimum legislative requirements for public holiday entitlements. In addition, our MECA and SECA provide relevant clauses pertaining to public holiday leave and these should be referred to in the first instance where clarification is required.

All employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise be a working day. Your employer must take all reasonable steps to ensure you get your public holiday entitlement. These public holidays are separate from and additional to annual holidays. If a public holiday falls during a period of annual leave you are entitled to that holiday and it cannot be debited against your annual leave entitlement.

Thinking about whether a day would ‘otherwise be a working day’ is essential to determining your entitlement regarding public holiday leave. In most cases, whether a day would ‘otherwise be a working day’ is clear because the working week or roster is constant. However, in some instances what constitutes a ‘working day’ is not necessarily clear cut – particularly where your roster does not follow a set pattern e.g. in ED.

A change to the Holidays Act 2003 means that there are different rules for ANZAC Day (and Waitangi Day) depending on when they fall, and when you work. This year, Anzac Day falls on a Saturday and so will be ‘Mondayised’ i.e. if you would not otherwise work on that Saturday the public holiday is treated as falling on the following Monday.

If Saturday is your ordinary working day, you will receive time and a half and a day in lieu if you work it or a paid day off if you do not work it. If Saturday is not your ordinary working day but Monday is, then you will receive time and a half and a day in lieu if you work the Monday or a paid day off if you do not work it. You cannot receive entitlements for both the Saturday and Monday.

Your day in lieu must be taken within 12 months of entitlement. These days can be taken with 14 days’ notice and while you must consider your employer’s view as to when is convenient, essentially this is at your discretion.

Employees working shifts are entitled to no less than their relevant daily pay (or average daily pay if applicable) for their normal rostered shift when they take a public holiday as a day off work. RMOs on call on public holidays are also entitled to a day in lieu – this is irrespective of whether you are called out or not.