Senior doctors give DHBs an E grade
Thursday, 31 October 2013
“Government flagship policy on clinical leadership in public hospitals in serious trouble: senior doctors give DHBs an E grade”
“The government’s policy of increasing clinical leadership in public hospitals is in serious trouble,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on the results of a survey of senior doctors in district health boards on whether they had enough time to be involved in clinical leadership. 1503 senior doctors responded (43% of the total members surveyed).
“A mere 37% of senior doctors believe they have enough time to be involved in wider leadership and engagement activities beyond their immediate clinical practice. This is an abysmal E grade.”
In 2009 the government released an excellent policy statement on clinical leadership called In Good Hands. Four years later this great expectation is in tatters.”
“Overwhelmingly this is because health bosses in government and DHBs have allowed entrenched specialist shortages to become the norm in public hospitals. Hospital specialists are overworked and overstretched.”
“There are also some noticeable differences in performance between DHBs. One the one hand, one DHB (Lakes) gets a B grade. On the other, a majority are graded E. The survey does not explain why there are these differences but are likely to involve either the DHB leadership culture or particular circumstances. We are looking to survey further on this.”
“In 2010 we and the DHBs jointly agreed on a report that showed that if we increased the size of our hospital specialist workforce, this would generate time for more of them to be actively involved in increasing the quality of patient care as well as organisational and financial improvements. We agreed that this would save public hospitals millions of dollars.”
“Sadly health bosses walked away from this opportunity to invest in the DHB specialist workforce and we are now reaping what they sowed; an exploited workforce and a major policy failure,” concluded Mr Powell.