The Association of Salaried and Medical Specialists (ASMS), the union for doctors and dentists in New Zealand, says the burnout rate of specialists and the problems caused by their job dissatisfaction has become a crisis and is calling on the Government to act soon.
Executive director of ASMS, Ian Powell, says specialists currently have a 50 per cent burnout rate, high levels of job dissatisfaction and 25 per cent of them intend to leave public hospitals over the next five years.
"This is neither sustainable nor fair, and it is not good for patient care. One way of making meaningful progress to address these problems would be through an accord between ASMS, the country’s 20 district health boards, and the Ministry of Health," says Mr Powell.
"Hospital specialists, like nurses and other frontline health workers, continue to suffer from high workloads caused by years of under-resourcing and neglect of the public health system, and problems with high levels of burnout and specialists working while sick and infectious," he says.
Delegates at the ASMS Annual Conference in Wellington have voted unanimously in favour of a resolution calling on the Minister of Health to actively support the ASMS initiative for a safe staffing.
"This is a clear message to the Minister from some of the most senior doctors in the country, and we urge him to actively support an accord that will help ensure safe levels of SMO staffing," says Mr Powell.
"This is a crisis that the Minister of Health has inherited from the former government. But if he doesn’t act soon and become part of the solution, he will become responsible for the crisis and he will become a central cause of the problem," he said.