Senior Medical & Dental Officers

Who are we?

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha is the second largest Te Whatu Ora in New Zealand by both geographical area and population size of over 600,000 people. 

We provide an extensive range of highly specialised and complex services.  While our responsibility is primarily for our own population, we provide many tertiary level services on a regional basis to people referred from other DHBs where these more specialised services are not available.

The specialist services we provide regionally include: brain injury rehabilitation; eating disorder services; child and youth inpatient mental health; forensic services; foetal medicine; cervical cytology; oncology; paediatric neurology, surgery and respiratory services; specialist diabetes services; neonatal transport; cardiothoracic surgery; gastroenterology; neurosurgery; plastic surgery; haematology/oncology; and ophthalmology.

There are some specialist services which Waitaha Canterbury provides on a national or semi-national basis.  These include: endocrinology; paediatric oncology; spinal injury services; and laboratory services.

Waitaha Canterbury has a transalpine agreement with the Tai Poutini West Coast DHB. As part of these formal arrangements, Waitaha Canterbury and Tai Poutini West Coast now share senior clinical and management expertise including: a joint Chief Executive, Executive Director of Allied Health, Clinical Director of Mental Health, Senior Medical Officers as well as joint human resources and information support.

Formalising our collaboration has allowed us to actively plan the assistance and services we provide to Tai Poutini West Coast and to build the most appropriate workforce and infrastructure in both locations.  A number of training and secondment opportunities also support the development of an experienced and sustainable workforce in both regions.

How we work

Our Consumer Council ensures that consumers have a strong voice in planning, designing and delivering services in the Waitaha Canterbury Health System.  The Consumer Council's slogan "Nothing about us, without us" encompasses our belief that manaaki hauora (health care) must always be planned with consumer involvement, right from the beginning. This is reflected by our real focus on patients and families and commitment to constantly improving the patient journey.  The individual is at the centre of care and we strive always to improve the patient experience with innovation and transformation being fundamental to the organisation’s quality journey.

The transformation of our health system is driven by empowered clinical leadership. Health professionals across Waitaha Canterbury are developing and implementing innovative solutions to improve outcomes for our population and improve the way the system works.   There is a genuine desire by the Chief Executive for clinical leadership and you will have the opportunity to influence the way healthcare is delivered.

Te Whatu Ora Clinical Board is a multidisciplinary clinical forum that oversees the DHB’s clinical activity.  The Board advises the Chief Executive on clinical issues and takes an active role in setting clinical standards and encouraging best practice and innovation. Members support and influence the DHB’s vision and play an important clinical leadership role, leading by example to raise the standard of patient care.

Led by the Clinical Board we have a collective commitment to our vision for zero harm. There are many improvement activities underway focused on designing systems to achieve this vision and to ensure the right care is delivered to the right standard, in the right place at the right time by the right person in the right way.

Waitaha Canterbury provides significant career opportunities for Senior Medical and Dental Officers. Conditions of employment are contained in the Multi Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) negotiated by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) – the union which covers Senior Medical and Dental Officers.  Although membership is not obligatory you may be interested in finding out more through their website.  Professional representation is provided through the New Zealand Medical Association and New Zealand Dental Association.

Further information about living and working in Ōtautahi Christchurch is available in our brochure specifically designed for Senior Medical and Dental Officers.


What we're proud of

We actively promote the concept of a learning organisation and have a strong focus on developing leadership and management and applying learning to the workplace.  We have partnered with the Universities of Canterbury and Otago as well as the ARA Institute of Canterbury (ARA) to provide a suite of learning opportunities designed to meet the needs of our health workforce together with research and undergraduate teaching opportunities.


A good fit for you

Our vision is a Waitaha Canterbury health system that keeps people healthy and well in their own homes – a system providing the right care and support, to the right person, at the right time, in the right place.

What you'll get out of it:

You can be part of the exciting challenge of the continuing development of health services for Waitaha Canterbury, aiming to deliver a world class healthcare system that is sustainable and meets the future needs of our population.  In doing so, we acknowledge our commitment to improving Māori health and wellbeing and reducing health inequities in our Māori population and whānau.


How to join the kapa (team)

All doctors wanting to practice medicine in New Zealand must first register with the Medical Council of New Zealand. All dentists wanting to practice in New Zealand must first register with the Dental Council. These websites provide all the information you need.

We are an accredited employer and have a good working relationship with Immigration New Zealand.  Doctors and Dentists are eligible under the skilled migrant pathway for temporary or resident visas.

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