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Health Shortfall Has Serious Implications


“Health Funding Shortfall Has Serious Implications for Stretched Public Hospital Specialists”

“An estimated $150 million funding shortfall in the health budget has serious implications for public hospital medical specialists, who are already stretched to the limit because of entrenched workforce shortages,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“The actual increase in operational spending in Budget 2013 is about $150 million short of what is needed to cope with increased costs, population and ageing, and over $200m short if we want a modest increase in services and new treatments without cutting others.”

“While the Government is continuing to focus its limited spending on a few targeted areas, most public hospital services are struggling to maintain services let alone meet the increasing demand. Even in the targeted areas, like elective surgery, hospitals are increasingly expected to do more for relatively less.”

“Medical Council figures reveal a trend of increasing numbers of new specialists quitting practising in New Zealand within a few years of gaining their specialist qualification. At the same time, we are not recruiting enough specialists to meet the growing demand.”

“Access to many services risk suffering unless a concerted effort is made by district health boards to fix what is a long-standing issue getting worse each year. DHBs are increasingly relying on overworked and over-stretched specialists to keep services going, but this is dangerous.”

“Ironically, if the government was to invest in its public hospital specialist workforce, it would allow more specialists to become involved in wider hospital decision-making which would then lead to improved financial performance,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell



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