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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Briefing to incoming Health Minister on point

16 December 2020 ASMS Media Release

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists says the Briefing to the incoming Health Minister is on point and shows just how urgently investment in health is needed.

The briefing by health officials paints a picture of a health system which is under immense stress, is suffering from chronic underfunding, has inequitable health outcomes and a vulnerable medical workforce.

ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton says the assessment will come as no surprise to senior doctors and dentists who work at the frontline every day.

“They are exhausted trying to juggle the tide of rising patient demand against a lack of resources”.

Some of the problems have been playing out very publicly in the past few weeks with emergency departments overrun in several hospitals such as Middlemore, Palmerston North and Rotorua.

“We need to stop treating overflowing emergency departments, growing waiting lists, overstretched specialist services and significant workforce shortages, as business as usual,” Sarah Dalton says.

“We remain extremely vulnerable in the event of a major Covid outbreak”.

With around 6,000 children admitted to hospital each year for housing-sensitive reasons, ASMS also believes that improving health outcomes and reducing demand for health care in Aotearoa means targeting growing inequities such as housing and poverty, as outlined in its Health Matters report, which forms its own briefing to the new Minister.

It also agrees that a more diverse medical workforce is needed which reflects the country’s population to help target inequity.

“The Briefing to the incoming Minister is a useful reality check and underlines the fact that investment in health is beyond urgent. We look forward to seeing what the Government can deliver,” Sarah Dalton says.