Working for better health care in New Zealand

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) is the professional association and union uniting doctors and dentists in New Zealand.

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Health infrastructure investment part of much-needed catch-up

29 January 2020 ASMS Media Release

Health infrastructure investment part of much-needed catch-up

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists is pleased to see the government committing to much-needed investment in health infrastructure, with many facilities and hospitals running at breaking point.

The government has today announced $300 million of capital investment to be spread across child and maternal health, mental health and addiction, regional and rural service projects and upgrading and fixing ageing hospital facilities.

ASMS, which represents senior doctors and dentists, says there has been gross neglect of facilities and hospital buildings in the past decade which has impacted on the quality of health care.

Executive Director Sarah Dalton says “staff in many DHBs are working in sub-optimal clinical environments, with ageing buildings and equipment, along with cramped conditions and facilities which have outgrown their physical footprints.

“Hospitals are regularly operating at full capacity because they don’t have enough bed space and that in turn leads to delays for patients and longer waiting lists”.

ASMS acknowledges the government is making a start on trying to play catch up but Treasury has estimated that about $14 billion of investment over 10 years is needed.

It also says hospital staff must be involved in the planning and design of upgrades and rebuilds to ensure the money is well spent.

Sarah Dalton says there are already examples of infrastructure projects and upgrades which have fallen short.

“The new acute services building at Christchurch Hospital will be over-capacity as soon as it opens.  We’ve also heard about new buildings or wards which specialists say don’t meet the needs of staff or patients”.

She is encouraged that the infrastructure package includes support for two hospitals to upgrade to clean energy.

“That’s an important step in terms of future-proofing, modernising and making our public health system more sustainable,” she says.