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Survey results take the pulse of a workforce under pressure

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A survey reporting significant concern with under-staffing and inadequate resourcing in the public health system will resonate with senior doctors, says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS). 

"This survey has done a good job of taking the pulse of the wider health workforce, and highlighting yet again the dedication and commitment of the DHB health workforce in continuing to provide quality care in very difficult circumstances," he says. 

The survey of almost 6000 paramedics, nurses, mental health workers and support staff was carried out by several unions, including the First Union, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, E Tu, and the Public Service Association ( 

It found that 90% of those surveyed felt the health care system was under-staffed and under-resourced. Health staff said funding was affecting access to health care, and said their workloads and work pressures were not reasonable. Mr Powell says these findings will strike a chord with hospital specialists who, like other health care workers, are struggling with high workloads and ongoing shortages. "There’s no doubt that these things are taking a toll on their personal health, with half of all senior doctors surveyed by ASMS last year reporting high levels of burnout.

"Comments from the Government’s agency Health Workforce New Zealand that the growth in nursing and the wider medical workforce is keeping pace with population growth just show how out of touch health bosses are with the daily reality of front line health professionals and other health workers. They’re clearly living in fantasyland."

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