David Clark must take responsibility
6 September 2019
“The Health Minister must stop making excuses and take action to deal with the care crisis at Middlemore Hospital, as well as the wider crisis in the public health service”, says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.
“Specialists and other health professionals are desperate and bearing the brunt of an untenable situation.
“Those at the clinical frontline are incurring the emotional stress due to longstanding neglect of public hospitals, including specialist shortages by successive governments.”
The New Zealand Herald reported today that Middlemore Hospital’s clinical director of women’s health, Dr Sarah Tout, has issued a plea for help as doctors are having to turn away desperate patients due to lack of capacity (https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12265162).
Mr Powell says the issues at Middlemore Hospital are particularly acute because of high levels of deprivation in the population it serves. But they are also indicative of the struggle facing all DHBs, which are chronically underfunded and understaffed.
“David Clark is right that you can’t immediately make up for nine years of underfunding. But you should by now be able to fund DHBs at a level that meet current operational costs, including addressing specialist shortages.
“Hospital specialists should not have to scream out for support. The Government must take its ear muffs off,” Mr Powell says.