Spin Over Cuts To Patient Services Annoys Doctors
MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,
TUESDAY 19 AUGUST 2003
“Political Spin Over Cuts To Patient Services Annoys Senior Doctors”
“Political spin over cuts to patient services in the Auckland District Health Board has annoyed senior doctors,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was responding to the statement by the Auckland DHB Chief Executive in a memorandum to all staff that Board chairman Wayne Brown believes that the provisional, lower than budgeted, deficit ($49.7 million) had been achieved without ‘having to cut patient services’.
“This misleading claim is made to satisfy political masters. It conflicts with the daily reality that many senior doctors face at the frontline of providing health services. Most senior doctors are well aware that patient services are affected by financial pressures. This is their daily workplace reality. Senior doctors are placed under undue pressure to cut corners and take risks.”
“For example, the intensive care unit at Auckland hospital was forced under protest to reduce its nursing salary bill by around $300,000 earlier this year. This meant that the capacity to treat intensive care patients at a 1:1 nursing ratio had to be cut from around 14-15 patients to around 10-11. It has also increased the pressure on Auckland to cancel scheduled surgery because of the lack of resources in the intensive care unit.”
“It is maddening for senior doctors and other health professionals to have to listen to this political spin fudging the effect of financial pressures made by those who can’t distinguish meeting contracted volumes from cuts to patient services,” concluded Mr Powell.