It is more than 30 years since I first had a lot to do with the health system as the mother of sons with profound disabilities.
The pressures on staff and resources then were a small taste of what’s happening now with the whole system in crisis as Sir Ray Avery wrote on Linked In:
Chris Hipkins There is a Crisis in New Zealand’s Hospital System
Chris Hipkins, there is crisis in New Zealand’s Hospital system and the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders is at risk and you have to act NOW and declare a state or emergency.
Numerous frontline healthcare workers and associated hospital support staff have publicly stated that they can no longer provide the level of care needed to administer safe and timely clinical treatment for their patients.
In this Newstalk Interview a top surgeon and a paramedic state that our health system is “imploding” and are calling for rapid action and are condemning the Government for “The crap that comes out of mouths of politicians “with regard to their failure to acknowledge that our hospitals are in crisis.
Professor Frank Frizelle says that surgeons are being asked to make life and death decisions [ie choose which patients are denied life saving treatments] because the Hospital HR resources are approaching only 50% of that needed to provide safe and timely medical treatment of patients.
A frontline paramedic say’s that because there are no hospital beds available that ambulances have to wait outside A&E for between two and 5 hours and that one patient was left in a corridor and died and no one noticed for more than two hours.
Prof Frizelle is critical of Health NZ who he says have not put in place adequate planning and resources to prevent the potential complete collapse of our hospital system.
And he is right.
The latest published board minutes for Health NZ are silent on any plan to try to resolve the current crisis in our hospital system.
Chris Hipkins preventable deaths are occurring on your watch and more than 30,000 patients are waiting more than five months for knee replacement, hip replacement, hernia surgery, colonoscopy, and laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgeries.
Some people on the waiting list may die before they get treated and preventable cancer deaths will occur because of the lack of oncologists and MRI, CT technicians and laboratory technicians.
Chris Hipkins, I urge you to declare a state of emergency which would put in place strategies to provide immediate critical support for our hospital and frontline medical staff and prevent a complete collapse of our hospital system.
And my fellow New Zealanders on behalf of all our frontline medical staff who are working with little resources but still trying to provide the best care they can for their patients in what has become an A&E warzone, show them your support.
Like this post ,and share this post, because unlike the visible devastation of the recent flooding the collapse of our healthcare system is like a malignant cancer often not detectable until it’s too late.
If we make enough noise just maybe Chris Hipkins will act.
It is not fair to blame all the problems on the current government. Some have been gestating for a long time and some have been aggravated by the Covid 19 pandemic.
But the government is responsible for the folly of expensively restructuring the system during a pandemic.
It’s responsible for wasting money on what it considers nice-to-haves while neglecting necessities, one of which is health.
It is also responsible for poor decisions that will have a long-lasting impact including the refusal to fund more places in the country’s two medical schools.
It’s not just more doctors we need, the health workforce is understaffed across the board.
The government keeps saying we need to do our bit to combat climate change about which our efforts will have little if any impact.
It is far more important that we do something about a world-wide shortage of medical professionals by training more of our own rather than relying on immigrants, especially when we’re competing with other countries which offer them better pay and conditions.
Sir Ray is not exaggerating, the health system is at breaking-point with impacts on wellbeing in every sector from ante and post-natal services to end-of-life care.
Rebuilding the health workforce and better funding of frontline health services must be an urgent priority.
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