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Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) welcomes the District Health Board Chairs and board appointees announced by Health Minister David Clark.

“We wish them all the best for their tenure and congratulate them for their dedication to the public health service in agreeing to serve,” ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell says.

The appointment of four Māori Chairs is a positive development. There are 13 new Chairs and nearly half of the total 76 appointees are women. The appointees join those elected in October to complete the composition of the new Boards.

“Dr Clark should be mindful of the enormous task facing these DHB Chairs and members who must now deal with the consequences of his Government’s failure to re-invest in the hospital specialist workforce.

“Dr Clark should give his new Chairs a strong message – and mandate – to relieve some of the enormous pressure being felt in public hospitals.  To date the Health Minister has been weak on addressing the hospital specialist shortages crisis.”

It is exacting a heavy personal cost on the health and well-being of public hospital specialists, who face a 50% burnout rate. Heads of department estimate a 24% shortfall of specialists in public hospitals. The official vacancy rate is only about a third of the estimated shortfall, but even the jobs that are advertised are hard to fill. This leaves specialists having to cover the huge gap by working too hard for too many hours and paying for this with their personal health.

ASMS encourages all DHB members and Chairs to read the Hospitals on the Edge publication it released last month highlighting the crisis in our public hospitals.

“It is to be hoped the Board members and especially the Chairs do not meekly acquiesce to political pressure to turn a blind eye to this specialist workforce crisis and instead have the courage to invest better in this workforce,” Mr Powell says.

MIL OSI