Media Releases

Flow on effect of health targets concerning

30 March 2015

Nurses are saying the Health Minister’s target of 6 hours waiting time in emergency departments is causing trouble right through the hospital system.

The Minister recently admonished at least one district health board for its "recurring pattern of poor performance", particularly in its emergency departments.
NZNO associate professional services manager, Hilary Graham-Smith says, “Nurses think it would be far more useful for the Minister to look at the big picture – why are patients having to wait in ED for longer than 6 hours sometimes? Is it because there aren’t enough staff? What happens when staff are expected to stick to the target? Are they admitting patients to under-staffed wards? Are they moving patients into other units before they have been properly assessed just so that they meet the target? Are staff able to provide the quality and quantity of care required in these circumstances?”

“It is obvious to the nursing team that the issues are systems issues. The Minister, a doctor himself, should be concerned. He should also be concerned that the health workforce, especially staff who been reprimanded for not reaching targets, are feeling seriously demoralised and un-supported.”
“Safe staffing is the answer to providing timely, quality and appropriate care to every patient, and funding is the answer to safe staffing. NZNO urges Minister Coleman to back his desire for a healthy New Zealand with the funding to make it happen.” Ms Graham-Smith says.


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