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Safe Staffing in Emergency Departments Needed

Media release:

Safe Staffing in Emergency Departments Needed to Ensure Patient Care

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is welcoming comments made by Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, to address some of the serious problems in emergency departments across the country.

At the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine yesterday the Minister of Health, Mr Ryall, committed to ensuring that patient safety and clinician involvement in decision making be a priority.

"We welcome any initiatives that work towards improving patient safety and ensuring that workloads and staffing levels are safe," Denise McGurk, Chairperson of the NZNO College of Emergency Nursing New Zealand said.

"The establishment of targets in emergency departments will only be successful if the targets are able to be realistically meet and having enough staff to provide the level of care needed is fundamental," Suzanne Rolls, Professional Nursing Advisor said.

"It is not enough to merely put in place targets of care in emergency departments. Emergency departments do not exist in isolation from the rest of the hospital. We would be wary of changes that do not meet the core need of ensuring patient safety and instead shift the problem from one area of the hospital to another."

"NZNO has been constructively engaged with the Ministry of Health for some months to look at how emergency departments can provide quality care," Ms Rolls said.


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