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Political parties need to spell out how they will address burnout of hospital specialists

19 September 2017 Media Release - ASMS

“Burnout among senior doctors providing front-line clinical care in our public hospitals is an important issue that political parties aspiring to be the next government need to address,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“We want to hear from the Government on why they let this disaster happen and what they and the political parties lining up to form a new government after the election intend to do about both burnout and the directly linked ongoing under-supply of specialist positions in our public hospitals.”

ASMS research published last year revealed that half of all public hospital specialists surveyed reported having very high levels of burnout ( International research indicates that burnout can have serious consequences for patient care, medical errors, rates of staff turnover, and the personal health and job satisfaction of doctors.

“Burnout is the result of sustained neglect of our public health system,” says Mr Powell. “Hospitals have been inadequately resourced for years and the consequences are falling squarely on the shoulders of hospital specialists.  Hospital specialists are paying for Government under-funding with their health.

He pointed to ongoing issues at a number of hospitals, including the latest revelations of treatment delays at Dunedin Hospital:

“People are really struggling to get the treatment they need within the public health system and the Government – whoever that might be after this weekend’s general election – needs to come up with a meaningful solution that doesn’t simply transfer the burden of more work onto the already-stretched and burnt out hospital specialist workforce.”