We are the union for salaried doctors and dentists.

We promote, protect and support the interests of our members in all aspects of their working lives. We are working for an equitable, accessible public health care system that meets the needs of all New Zealanders.

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Indicators framework won’t solve health staffing crisis

6 August 2021 ASMS Media Release

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Toi Mata Hauora says what would make a real difference to patient care in New Zealand is key indicators on safe and sufficient staffing levels.

The Health Minister Andrew Little has announced that national health targets are to be abolished and replaced by 12 indicators, based on the Government’s six priorities for health, to identify whether work is being met.

ASMS agrees that health targets have never been a reliable assessment of how well health services are performing.

Executive Director Sarah Dalton says introducing an indicators framework is all very well, but the health system relies on people to keep it going and deliver timely and accessible healthcare.

“The reality is that our hospitals and health services are so short-staffed that it is increasingly becoming a health and safety issue, reaching a point where providing patient care is often unsafe.”

Senior doctors have just ended a week of stopwork meetings with another week planned next week over their stalled employment contract negotiations.

“What we are being told is that our senior doctors and their healthcare colleagues are at the end of their tether and their work has become unsustainable. They say some services have disappeared or are no longer available due to a lack of specialist staff, they can’t take leave because there is no backup, and they’re burning out and leaving the public health system,” says Sarah Dalton.

ASMS is urging the Government to urgently address current and future healthcare staffing needs across our hospitals and clinical services.

“If it doesn’t, patients will continue to miss out and the health workforce will burnout. The health and sustainability of our health workforce is critical. Let’s have an indicator to measure that,” Sarah Dalton says.