Te Whatu Ora Refuses to Offer New Doctors Early Employment

Te Whatu Ora Refuses to Offer New Doctors Early Employment

November 30, 2022

Te Whatu Ora has confirmed today that they will not allow newly graduated doctors to commence employment in our severely stressed hospitals, until late January.

A new cohort of NZ trained doctors graduate in November of each year and until last year, commenced employment in the November/December period.  A decision of the DHBs saw that commencement date shift to the end of January last year, leaving newly graduated doctors unemployed for a 2-month period.

Given the severe shortages of doctors in NZ and the ongoing patient workloads being experienced in our public hospitals, returning to the traditional employment of newly qualified doctors in November /December was raised as an option to assist our stressed medical workforce.

However, Te Whatu Ora has confirmed today that they are unable to “onboard” these new doctors at this time citing supervision and orientation concerns as the reason.

“This makes no sense,” says Dr James Anderson, National President of NZRDA the union representing Resident Doctors.  “We have a workforce we so desperately need, qualified ready and willing to work and yet Te Whatu Ora won’t employ them for another 2 months.”

“The excuse of supervision and orientation concerns is in our view, exactly that,” said Dr Anderson.  “All new doctors are directly supervised by our currently employed house officers and registrars; they always have been and that will be no different this year from any years past.”

Dr Anderson also questioned how international medical graduates coming to join us because of Te Whatu Ora’s recruitment campaign will be able to be onboarded if our own graduates are unable to be.


Contact: Dr James Anderson


New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association

Mobile 027 2046167


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 graduates fresh out of medical school 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.