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Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists welcomes Chris Hipkins to the role of Health Minister following the resignation of David Clark.

“We look forward to working with Mr Hipkins and talking with him as he comes up to speed with the complexity and challenges of our health system,” says Executive Director Sarah Dalton.

She says taking on the health portfolio along with education will be a big ask.

“The Government has delivered some very large budget increases for health this year, but the unfortunate reality is that we are dealing with the effects of more than a decade of underfunding”.

“Mr Hipkins will have to quickly get his head around a system which is groaning under the pressure of increased patient demand in an environment of ageing buildings and infrastructure, huge DHB deficits and serious workforce shortages, particularly among specialists.”

ASMS estimates that almost half a million New Zealanders are missing out or waiting on treatment due to the lack of capacity in our hospitals, and that has been exacerbated by the Covid backlog.

Sarah Dalton says David Clark needs to be recognised for his leadership of the National Asset Management Plan which means there is now a comprehensive stocktake of DHB facilities and buildings.

He also delivered the Simpson Review which represents the largest health reform in the past 20 years, which will guide the shape of healthcare for years to come.

“While his tenure as Health Minister was occasionally marked by controversy, these projects are a significant legacy. We look to the incoming minister to pick these projects up and get stuck in.

Our health system must remain an investment priority – not least our medical workforce,” Sarah Dalton says.