Nice buildings – now the workforce need government action
21 November 2018
Nice buildings – now the hospital specialists working in them need government action
The union for senior doctors and dentists is welcoming the Government’s promise of more money to fix the country’s run-down and cash-strapped hospitals, but says equal attention must be given to tackling problems with the senior medical workforce.
“We’re very glad that the Government is allocating significant amounts of money for our public health infrastructure but there are also longstanding and very serious shortages in the specialist workforce in public hospitals that need to be addressed urgently,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
He was commenting on the Government’s announcement today that it will provide $80 million to repair, relocate and establish buildings at services at Middlemore Hospital and the Manukau SuperClinic (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=12163734). This follows other health funding announcements, including $45.6 million for the new Wellington Children’s Hospital (https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-commits-456m-new-wellington-children%E2%80%99s-hospital) and $20 million for the new Buller Health Centre in Westport (https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-confirms-20m-investment-new-health-centre-westport).
Mr Powell says additional funding for the country’s public hospitals is long overdue. Some of this extra cost is due to the error of deferred maintenance caused by 8 consecutive of deliberate underfunding (2010-2017).
“This funding announcement are a real boon for patients and their communities, and also for the senior doctors and other health professionals who work in these hospitals.
“At the same time, there continues to be real shortages (around 25%) within the hospital specialist workforce that needs to be tackled forthwith. These are showing up in extremely high levels of burnout (an astronomical 50%) and hospital specialists going to work while sick (even when infectious).”
ASMS research into these issues includes: Burnout: https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2016/08/12/burnout-rife-among-senior-doctors-dentists-working-public-hospitals/ Presenteeism: https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2015/11/19/superheroes-dont-take-sick-leave-presenteeism-in-the-senior-medical-workforce/ Intentions to leave: https://www.asms.org.nz/news/asms-news/2016/11/17/significant-number-senior-doctors-intending-leave-next-five-years-survey-finds/ “It’s the people who are the very heart of the public health system, and now it’s their turn. They’ve been waiting long enough.”