These adverse outcomes are, at times, observationally linked to extended waits for acute diagnosis and care in Aotearoa’s overcrowded and understaffed emergency departments, and wider health system.
Firstly, and most importantly, the College’s sympathies are with all patients, whānau, loved ones and healthcare workers affected by these recent tragic events.
It is widely understood that the health system across the motu is grappling with a lack of staff and other resources, and research indicates that this makes it more likely that negative patient outcomes will occur. At the same time, it is the College’s position that in all instances where there are negative patient outcomes, it is vital to ascertain official confirmation of the circumstances, including respective reports from the hospitals in question and the coroner, before final conclusions are drawn.
The College, including Immediate-Past President Dr John Bonning and NZ Chair Dr Kate Allan, has been drawing attention to the pressures on emergency departments and health systems across Aotearoa New Zealand, and calling for urgent investment and solutions.
All people need access to easily accessible and affordable healthcare, when and where they need it. The nation’s healthcare workers – who are under tremendous pressure to make vital clinical decisions, with limited time and resources, in a system experiencing unprecedented demand – must be supported sufficiently to provide this care.
The crisis in the healthcare system has been building for decades and is one for which there are no ‘quick-fixes’. It is the College’s position that fixing this crisis will require the transcendence of bipartisan politics, and for all stakeholders across the health system to work together on solutions.
Solutions must include real solutions for access block, and the appropriate implementation of hospital access targets, sufficiently supported and resourced to achieve sustainable improvements.
The College urges all people requiring acute healthcare to present to emergency departments. While there may be extended waits for care at times, medical emergencies will always be prioritised, and staff are working extremely hard to provide safe care.
ACEM urges people seeking care, their whānau, and carers to remain patient and compassionate. While recognising such instances can be stressful, aggression towards healthcare workers will not be tolerated, in any circumstances.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
Melissa Howard, ACEM Media Relations Manager, [email protected] + 64 427 621 857