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More Government Lies?

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Health Minister answers questions as hospitals hit capacity

From Checkpoint, RNZ.

Hospital emergency departments around the country are heaving, and it is not yet winter.

In the past 48 hours, Dunedin Hospital and Whangarei Hospital reached capacity, and were forced to ask people to keep emergency departments for emergencies only.

In some areas, patients have been treated in corridors and been forced to wait for several hours for a bed, while some staff are burning out, stretching resources further.

Health Minister Andrew Little is keen to find out what management decisions are being made that seem to coincide with a crisis in hospitals despite a large boost in funding last year.

Little told Checkpoint he was concerned about a “code black” being declared at Dunedin Hospital and was trying to find out more about it. “I want to understand the full nature of the problem.”

In last year’s Budget a record $980 million extra had been allocated to DHBs for operational funding annually.

He said the government has also funded significant growth in staffing numbers in hospitals. Last year extra funding was provided for another 3000 FTEs (fulltime equivalents) for the hospital system and in some EDs bigger budgets had seen personnel increase over the last three years.

He believes it’s important to look not just at what happens in EDs – it’s about what happens in the rest of the hospital as well and how patients are managed.

“I guess what I’m focused on is what are the actions that means that the additional resources that have gone into the hospitals, particularly into the emergency departments, [but] we’re still seeing these crises that these professionals  talk about.”

He knew some DHBs were struggling to fill vacancies so extra money has gone into training, especially for nurses. At present 223 people are training for ED specialities.

“I kind of want to know what management decisions are being taken to make sure they’re getting the best use out of the extra personnel that are being funded.”

Little said in terms of defining the problem, he needed to find out if it was just centred on the country’s EDs and today he had asked the Ministry of Health to provide more information.

Shortage of GPs

He agreed that GPs nationwide were under pressure partly because there weren’t enough of them. Invercargill, which is part of the Southern DHB, does not have enough medical centres, and this may be driving demand at the region’s EDs, he said.

More money was being put into GPs’ training and some of the border restrictions were being eased to allow more foreign GPs into the country.

The flu vaccination programme is due to start on 14 April, slightly later than the original 1 April launch date, Little said.

Tomorrow he will meet with Australasian College for Emergency Medicine president Dr John Bonning who says EDs are where the stress in the hospital system is most  visible, but the whole system is under increasing pressure. Little said he would be interested to share data and talk through the causes of problems in hospitals and what else needs to be done.

Providing health care had become more complex with an ageing population and more complicated needs. But consistency and coherence were needed across the system so that if one hospital couldn’t provide a service another one could step into the breach.

“That is very hard under the current system” and showed the need for health reforms, Little said.

This shows you that just chucking more money at a problem is not the answer.

Typical lefty response is to just give out more money and hope it will go away.  What will the winter bring, if we are having these problems in the health system in the autumn?

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Over the fence from my neighbour, his daughter is well up in the nursing fraternity at the Dunedin Hospital, the problem is staffing numbers, she is having to do a large amount of double shifts simply because there is no one else available. Beds are empty because of this.

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  2. Labour, the government of overly bloated middle management strikes again. The classic line of we will look into where the money has gone just employs more managers and bookeepers not doctors and nurses.

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  3. What are the underlying problems?
    – An aging population
    – Immigration-driven population increase (with the ability for migrants to bring their aged parents into NZ, especially if there are no other siblings in the Old Country (hello one-child-policy China!) to care for them
    – The boomer generation of GPs retiring as the rest of the boomers enter their “hospital-hungry” years
    – Under-spending on hospitals and/or possible wastage of investment in the health sector

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    • Another element here

      NZ wisely focused in primary health care and getting a good health base in during the growing years.
      This has occured from the 1990s.
      Free dental to age 18 setting you up for life.
      There are whingers who want it free forever but they are goddamn losers
      Guacamole Gay level F.wits.

      Free GP up to age 13.
      This sorts out early issues

      Now the many people coming from overseas – 60,000+ a year from 2012 to 2019/20 means there aver half a million people from shitholes who largely did not have good primary health care and setting them up for life

      Samoans, indians, Chinese Tongans and, aside from the Chinese, tend to have really crap diets so perpetuate.

      But we cant talk truth because truth is racist.

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  4. Shoulder tap Tony Ryall.
    Ask him how much $ dosh will it take for him to take it on?

    Experienced, and righted the stuff up, over administrated hospital system back in 2008.

    …. his role as Health Minister was the “best job in the Government” despite its notoriety for being a problematic portfolio. …
    ….. • Health Minister since 2008 and gained attention for his surprise visits to emergency departments to check on waiting times. ….

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/tony-ryall-checks-out-of-parliament-after-24-years/3YHKS3JYVH5HPXOMSPNUYKCJN4/

    Even got the maori vaccination level for toddlers up & beyond, so no maori baby was left behind. 🙂

    I may not have cared for some of his politics and certainly not of his colleagues.
    Still use him where he had some real effect.

    Went where no health minister went before, despite DHB and some bureaucrat protestations. 🙂

    …. others thought it was “perplexing”, “insulting and undermining” as well as “creepy and weird”.
    Some have questioned his method, labelling it an “unscientific way to gain an impression of an emergency department”. ….

    … “I’ve never known a Minister of Health not to abide by protocols working with the clinicians and the management of a hospital,” says Labour’s Associate Health Minister Annette King. …..
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/general/tony-ryall-defends-undercover-hospital-visits-2010081217

    Yeah Annette, and Andrew Little,; Tony Ryall got things done, and achieved in the Health sector,

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    • Tony knew everyone that was worth knowing in and out of the system.
      Spent 9 or more years meeting them and getting their advice.
      Best health Minister we have ever had,

      tony and simon Power should have been the next Nat leaders but key chose people like that stupid prick from Auckland and Simon.

      Interesting thing this morng is that he weighed in on the Tga CC debate making some statements about housing and roading.
      The irony of that is that he was shoehorned into the Tga seat by the blue rinse brigade and Key. He preferred a l;Sawyer to Bob Clarkson.
      Had Clarkson had a role then both the roading and housing would have been fixed.
      But yous reap what you sew.
      The Nats are gutless bunch of willy wankers.

      Will they change the brightlines (as opposed to white lines), and the interest deduction for landlords.
      I have asked but all I have seen so far is hot air. ACT on the other hand are quite clear about what will happen.
      Never trust the Nats.

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  5. Are you joking is this the same Andrew Little that NZs most qualified journalist Drunken Garner said of yesterday “I got to give Andrew little a pat on the back he’s doing a great job” ?

    5

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  6. Covid will overwhelm hospitals and kill thousands… nah just need poor labour govt management to achieve that.

    How far through the new dunedin hospitalbuild are they? Has a truckload ofconcrete even been poured yet?

    More people will die from terrible labour govt management/ virtue signalling then what ever would have died from covid.

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  7. Editorial says
    …IF WE ARE HAVING THESE PROBLEMS IN THE HEALTH SYSTEM IN THE AUTUMN?

    Not really.
    This is from early March and still effectively summer.
    August and the cumulative lack of Vit D is where it really bites.

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  8. The annual flu vax rollout (cockup) normally starting 1 April is about six weeks later than it should be.
    To have it delayed another two weeks this year ( because why? ) is outrageous.
    Why is no one holding these overpaid health management muppets to account?

    3

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