The doctors, from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), have determined solutions for the issues in the health system that lead to long, dangerous waits for care, staff burnout and rising levels of aggression and violence in EDs.

To help protect and restore Aotearoa New Zealand’s struggling emergency departments and staff, ACEM is calling for political parties contesting the 2023 election to commit to:

  1. The delivery and appropriate staffing of all mental health facilities pledged in the 2019 mental health budget package, ensuring more acute mental health care beds are available for patients across Aotearoa.
  2. The urgent delivery of 150 appropriately staffed high-level aged care residential beds.
  3. The implementation of identified solutions that provide and retain the emergency care workforce needed to deliver safe care and protect the wellbeing of staff.
  4. The implementation of a plan to collect accurate ethnicity data, audit health care outcomes for equity and address identified inequities in the ED.
  5.  24/7 security staff posted at every ED, integrated, and appropriately trained to best support staff, patients, whānau and visitors.

ACEM Aotearoa New Zealand Chair, Dr Kate Allan said, “Emergency departments and staff have always been there 24/7 for all people who need acute care. But they are under unprecedented pressure and need Aotearoa’s help to keep providing vital care. This election, political parties must commit to fixes that protect and restore New Zealand’s struggling emergency departments and staff – and get more people the timely healthcare they need.

“Violence in emergency departments is increasing. All people must be safe to receive, deliver and support care in emergency departments, and violence or aggression cannot be accepted. 24/7 security staff posted at every ED, integrated and appropriately trained to best support staff, patients, whānau and visitors, can free up medical staff to focus on delivering crucial care.

“Insufficient resources in the broader health system are causing delays in the ED. More staffed beds are urgently required across the system, particularly in acute mental health and aged care, and it is vital that we implement plans to retain and recruit an appropriate, skilled healthcare workforce.

“Long waits for care are dangerous, for everyone. New Zealand can’t wait any more.”

ACEM will publicly support pre-electoral pledges that align with these five solutions and invites political parties to work with Aotearoa’s emergency doctors on implementing the fixes across the nation.

To download ACEM's background explanation for the NZ election, Election 2023: Aotearoa New Zealand's emergency departments need help, click here.


ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards.

Media Contact:

Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857