The call for safer staffing conditions for senior hospital doctors is being supported by nurses’ union NZNO.
Delegates at last month’s Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) conference voted unanimously to lobby the Minister of Health to back a safe staffing accord for public hospital senior doctors and dentists.
Earlier this year nurses’ frustration over longstanding safe staffing issues at the 20 district health boards lead to strike action and also to the signing on July 30 of a Safer Staffing Accord between the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), 20 DHBs and the Ministry of Health.
Memo Musa, chief executive of NZNO said public hospital senior specialists also deserve safe staffing as they often work long hours under stressful conditions because there aren’t enough staff to meet patient needs. But the union stopped short of backing a call for senior doctors to have their own accord.
“They (public hospital specialists) are frequently over-tired or unwell themselves, but continue to work because of their dedication and good will,” said Musa. “The levels of job dissatisfaction and rates of burnout reported by the ASMS are concerning. These conditions are not optimal for providing care and treatment to people needing hospital-based care.”
Musa urged the DHBs, Ministry of Health and the ASMS to start working together, supported by Government to find a way forward, because what was happening was “unsustainable and will only contribute to poor health for New Zealanders”.