“Reports of yet another full public hospital struggling to cope with the winter influx of patients is more evidence of a public health system under extreme pressure,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.
He was commenting on reports that more than 300 people had turned up to Waikato Hospital’s emergency department over a 24-hour period . Other hospitals also feeling the pressure over winter have included Tauranga and Whakatane along with Palmerston North Hospital.
In June, Stuff reported that Tauranga Hospital's Emergency Department had its biggest day ever - except for New Year's Day. The ED team was under pressure treating 208 people on Monday, June 17, and the Bay of Plenty DHB issued a reminder asking people to think about whether they really need to see an emergency doctor.
“Our public hospitals are really feeling the pressure of high levels of patient demand and the consequences of years of under-resourcing,” says Ian.
“Sustained underfunding of our public hospitals has contributed to their ability to cope with this high acute patient demand, which then generates extra financial costs that contribute to deficits which leads to the Minister of Health putting the blow torch on our hospitals.
“When will the Government face up to its responsibilities instead of leaving patients, hospital specialists and other health professionals trapped in a vicious circle created by successive governments?”
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