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Clear safe staffing levels needed throughout health system

Unions are supporting the call from the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) for the Government to find agreement on safe staffing levels for senior doctors and dentists working in public hospitals. Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sam Huggard said that the chronic issue of understaffing in our public health system can be fixed by the Health Minister and Ministry engaging constructively with people working inside our health services, and their representatives in unions.

“Last year, we saw working people from across our health services coming together to campaign on the dangerously low staffing levels that threaten patient safety and the sustainability of health careers. Doctors, nurses, midwives, caregivers and allied health staff are all united that we need clear and enforceable guidelines for safe minimum staffing, and the funding to actually implement them,” he said.

“The New Zealand Nurses Organisation has made good progress with District Health Boards (DHBs) and parliamentarians over the years to push towards enforceable safe staffing, including reaching an accord. Now ASMS is reaching out to collaborate with Minister Clark and DHBs too.”

“Coming from a very strained and deeply damaged relationship with previous Ministers under National, this is a big constructive step forward, and a sign of increased optimism from health professionals towards the coalition Government. It will lift public confidence in our health system if the Government paves a road to safe staffing when there is such a clear mandate across the sector.”