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Senior doctors to be more forthright

FRIDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2006

“Senior doctors to be more forthright over health system concerns”

“Senior doctors intend to be more forthright and critical over their concerns about government and district health board performance in the health system,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on the decision of the Association’s National Executive yesterday.

“It has become clear to us that we have much less in common with the government over objectives and direction than we previously thought. This has become
evident in several areas including:

 Political indifference to patients being denied access to first specialist assessments and public hospital treatments. Instead of trying to address this unmet need the government appears more preoccupied with data cleansing.

 Deliberate under-funding of public hospitals with projected increases well below inflation and the real operational costs. Public hospitals are being financially squeezed and unable to be confident about the maintenance of quality care.

 Cynical and arrogant political interference in the selection of doctors on the Medical Council with the refusal of the Health Minister to accept the outcome of an election for some Council positions. This is undermining the confidence of doctors in the integrity and political independence of their registration body.

 Denying the existence of serious medical workforce shortages despite the evidence to the contrary.

 The government’s willingness to approve privatisation of core health services despite the serious risks and the existence of more robust alternatives.

 The government’s condoning of the culture of managerialism (management knows best) in district health boards instead of promoting more active engagement with health professionals in decision-making.”

“We will always continue to recognise when the government or district health boards make good decisions but we will be more consistently critical on those increasing occasions when they don’t“,” concluded Mr Powell.

ENDS

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