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“Specialist Staffing Shortage Worse Than Expected”

“Specialist Staffing Shortage Worse Than Expected”

“The specialist staffing shortage in public hospitals is worse than was expected,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on the release today of the Association’s recruitment and vacancy report of the MidCentral District Health Board (largely Manawatu and Horowhenua).

“The report reveals a minimum actual shortage of at least 19%. However, this is a conservative estimate. If the recognised professional standards are taken into account then the ‘professional vacancy rate’ is 43%.”

“This is not a national survey. However, as MidCentral is a middle-sized DHB that includes both local and regional services, it is likely that the shortage situation in other district health boards is not dramatically different.”

“Shortages of this size threaten patient safety by creating enormous pressure and stress on senior doctors and nurses who are left to carry the flak and cope with meeting serious patient needs. It means that patients are being badly short-changed.”

“The solution to overcoming these shortages rests with district health boards being prepared to negotiate reasonable terms and conditions of employment that will allow New Zealand to attract specialists in an internationally competitive market and also to actively engage with us in workforce development and planning.”

“Unfortunately on a national level district health boards are in denial mode refusing to acknowledge that there is a serious problem and instead leave specialists to cope with the fall-out.”

“Until this ‘head in the sand’ and ‘passing the buck’ ends, specialists and nurses will continue to be subjected to unfair stress and fatigue and patients will continue to be short-changed,” concluded Mr Powell.

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