NZRDA Supports Senior Doctor’s Industrial Action

NZRDA Supports Senior Doctor’s Industrial Action

August 24, 2023

Senior medical officers (SMOs) have issued notice of industrial action to take place 5th September 2023.  These doctors are responsible for overseeing the training and work performed by Resident Doctors, the majority of whom are members of the NZRDA.


Dr Deborah Powell, the National Secretary of the NZRDA says “The senior doctors are taking action as a result of an offer by Te Whatu Ora which doesn’t even keep up with cost of living.  This comes after 5 years of salary settlements also falling below costs of living.”


“NZ is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of resident doctors with 500 current vacancies projected to get worse in the coming months.  Resident doctors are looking to their futures and weighing up their options.  Most would prefer to remain in NZ, however with SMO salaries in real terms failing to even maintain their value, the future is not looking bright.” Says Dr Powell.





Dr Deborah Powell

National Secretary

New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association

Mobile 021 614 040



Resident Doctors and Senior Medical Officers


Resident Doctors are also known as RMOs or Resident Medical Officers. The term SMO (Senior Medical Officer) is the equivalent term for Senior Doctors or consultants working in NZ’s public health system. Resident doctors are registered medical practitioners ranging from new medical school graduates through to vocationally registered GPs and SMOs. They can be a resident doctor for up to 13 years, during which time they continue with postgraduate training in specialist fields such as GP, paediatrics, surgery, pathology, and so on. Once they complete this additional training they become GPs or SMOs.