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Increase in doctors welcome amid unprecedented demand

7 October 2019

Figures showing an increase in District Health Board employed doctors are positive, but the health service is under immense pressure, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) Acting Executive Director Angela Belich says.

Ms Belich was commenting on figures released by Health Minister David Clark showing an increase in doctors, nurses, and midwives:

“Our members are reporting unprecedented pressure in hospitals around the country. We are seeing a surge in patients presenting with acute illness, and growing demand for cancer care,” Ms Belich says.

“Many hospital facilities are out-of-date, decrepit, or simply too small for the population they serve.

“In ASMS surveys hospital heads of department report an average specialist shortfall of 24%.

“There is also a very high burnout rate among specialists of 50%,” Ms Belich says.

“Meanwhile District Health Boards are struggling to meet end-of-year financial targets imposed on them amid surging demand and staff shortages.

“This is not a time for complacency in the health sector. The Government needs to do more than trumpet raw personnel increases and consider the structural pressures health staff are coping with.”


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