Doctors unhappy over name badge policy

BOPDHB chief executive Helen Mason says the new policy is about meeting the needs of both staff and patients. File photo.

Resident doctors at the Bay of Plenty District Health Board are unhappy with a new policy requiring all staff to wear badges with their first and last names.

BOPDHB chief executive Helen Mason says the new initiative is currently being rolled out, and will affect 3300 staff across several sites.

“Patients told us that when coming into hospital, often an unfamiliar environment when they are at their most vulnerable, one of the things that makes a difference is knowing who is caring for them and who they are speaking to,” says Helen.

“They and their families and whanau want to know the names of the people who are helping them and what their jobs are.”

She says staff have also said in surveys that they want to know the names of staff they are working alongside.

“It is part of our CARE values (Compassion, All-one-team, Responsive and Excellence) that staff are easily identified. With 3300 staff, based at several sites, not all staff know each other, and not all staff are working alongside their own team members. Multi-disciplinary teams are formed, requiring different combinations of staff roles.”

The badges are in addition to security/access swipe cards staff already have.

Helen says for staff who are concerned about having their surnames included on the badge, there is an exemption process they can apply for.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation Bay of Plenty DHB organiser Angela Neil says the NZNO has been involved in consultation with the DHB regarding the name badges, as well as the criteria around the exemption process to wearing them.

“The Health and Disability Act is very clear that every health consumer is entitled to know the full name of the person providing their care or treatment,” says Angela.

“Where there is a concern, you can get an exemption, and there are some areas where it may not be appropriate. If people do have genuine concerns, we want to make sure they can be heard and receive an exemption. But they would still have to provide their ID regardless.”

She says most of the NZNO’s members affected by changes are on board with the new policy.

However, New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association national secretary Deborah Powell says the staff represented by her union were not part of discussions around the introduction of the name badges.

“It would appear there has been no consultation on the matter – people have just started receiving their name badges. It’s utterly unacceptable. The staff are not happy, and they’re starting to report back to us and are refusing to wear the badges.”

She says staff already know who they are working with, and already have a security card with their full name on it, which is usually worn around the waist or neck.

She says in some cases, wearing name badges with both first and last names could present a safety concern.

“We do periodically have patients following up with staff outside of the workplace, so we prefer not to have our surnames that obvious and visible. That is the feeling of staff throughout New Zealand.”

She put a call into the BOPDHB on Wednesday morning about the new policy, after receiving emails from unhappy NZRDA members.

“The feeling of the staff is that this is a waste of money, because the badges won’t be worn.”

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell, whose organisation represents senior doctors, says there has only been ‘loose’ discussion with the DHB regarding the matter.

“We have joint consultation committee meetings with the DHBs, and in June last year this issue was raised. But I don’t believe our view has been sought on whether this should apply to senior doctors.”

He says patients are entitled to know who is treating them, and they generally do as their doctor will introduce themselves.

“I think there needs to be a proper discussion if they intend it to apply to senior doctors. What is the benefit of it, and what are the pros/cons? I think there would be some compelling reasons to exempt some senior doctors, and perhaps some others as well.”

Those areas might include staff who work with mental health patients, as well as ED.

“If you look at violence against staff, it is more likely to happen in mental health or emergency departments,” says Ian.


Seriously bad...definately dangerous..

Posted on 02-04-2018 21:41 | By groutby

....I see the need for first names on a badge, may be useful, but if the patient is remotely alert they will hear the name of the person administering aid clearly and respond accordingly, it is an important public service being administered here, not a ’get to know you’ way for patients to (potentially) maybe lay blame or seek other perceived retribution when things don’t go as they wish it to. This is a very unhealthy request on behalf of the DHB...staff should add it to upcoming claims and requirements...Helen, you need to stop this immediately and you can believe it will ’affect’ way more than (the 3300) staff you can ever imagine....

Security Tag

Posted on 31-03-2018 10:29 | By Told you

I thought all staff had a security tag which is used to open and close doors which would have their name on it. I cant recall whether they have name badges when last at the Hospital.Maybe someone can enlighten me.

@ Seriously

Posted on 31-03-2018 08:42 | By astex

This is not possible because of patient privacy, The staff have to jump through hoops to protect the privacy of the patient at all times but apparently, due to the name badge, their employer doesn’t give a hoot about theirs. Is this just more of the bullying that is rife in the DHB?

hang on a minute

Posted on 30-03-2018 16:45 | By old trucker

I feel that this is a SECURITY thing, i think they already wear a Lanyard on them, TCC wear them and they turn them around in public so you cannot see their name, (BUT)they get out of a Council car and have a coffee for a hour or so thinking nobody will notice, well i did, SHOULD they not be working,( Hangon its TCC staff, (THATS right they DONT need to) my thoughts only on this, Sunlive.Thankyou. 10-4 out. phew.

Two way street

Posted on 29-03-2018 23:41 | By Seriously?

Perhaps the patients and visitors to the hospital should wear name tags with their full name and occupation on it so DHB staff know who they’re talking to.

@ Told you

Posted on 29-03-2018 21:40 | By astex

All staff already wear an ID badge with at least their first name on it. It is the surname that is a problem. Unfortunately when dealing with some members of the public there are threats made to staff and their families. If the surname is given some of these threats can "go home with you" as your address can be found.


Posted on 29-03-2018 17:25 | By Told you

It would be helpful to have a name if only the first name is used it is better than none at all, I understand the staffs concern but in fairness the patients should come first.

Surely it is courteous

Posted on 29-03-2018 16:11 | By nerak

for the nameless face who comes to a patient’s bedside to wear a name. A name badge is likely to be remembered more than a verbal introduction. After all, the medical person can often be responsible for decision making in the patient’s life, he/she knows a great deal about the patient from the file. It sounds pretty arrogant to not give a patient the chance to remember a medical staffer who has treated them.First name, first letter of surname would be a good start.

Any name will do

Posted on 29-03-2018 15:31 | By backofthequeue

Have never forgotten working in the USA with a co-worker whose name tag read "Hey You". On this particular issue I’m a little surprised that the DHB is pushing to further alienate professional health care workers with such petty politics.

Fully disagree.

Posted on 29-03-2018 15:08 | By astex

Most staff are fully against wearing these badges as it increases the risk of harassment, stalking and retaliation. Most have been threatened many times and to provide the threatener with a method of carrying out these threats outside the workplace increases the risks already faced. This practice has also been ruled,by courts, as a breach of privacy in many countries.


Posted on 29-03-2018 13:13 | By Raeleen

Lol if they think consultants will wear name badges but they should as often when with others they dont introduce themselves or speak to fast or softly and every patient has a right to know who is treating them. Good on you BOPDHB but make everyone wear a badge or make sure the exemption is totally justified.


Posted on 29-03-2018 12:47 | By maildrop

They are too important and superior for first name terms. They’re Doctors. Does the Pope or the President wear a name badge? Lol.

Badges for Doctors

Posted on 29-03-2018 08:53 | By Gadeb2

If anyone is going to be stalked or approached out of work it is likely to be nurses, social workers, OT and allied health who spend more time with their clients building relationships and represent the majority of healthcare workers. It is inconceivable that doctors feel they are more at risk, superior, or simply too important to wear badges. Well done Helen Mason, some of the changes you are bringing to the BOP DHB may shake things up a bit and make staff feel uncomfortable but are long overdue. The patriarchal attitude held by some doctors is out of date and needs to be addressed as does the bullying within both the nursing and medical professions at the DHB. "My life is more important than anyone else" demonstrated here is just a symptom of the inequality that needs to be addressed

Poor Baby

Posted on 29-03-2018 08:00 | By fletch

As a patient it would be nice to know the doctors name. Its a bit overwhelming to have three or four young doctors come see you as you lie there waiting for answers as to what is wrong. Just your first name would help.

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