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Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings

Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has become so serious it is compromising patients’ safety.

“Not only did they describe the work environment as being ‘dangerous’, they say patients are having to wait excessively long times to be seen and when they are, they are being given only ‘cursory’ attention.

“While the DHB is taking action to rectify the situation, what is happening at North Shore is symptomatic of a wider problem within our hospitals. DHBs around the country are under the gun. They are grappling with deficits and with continued under-investment in health care and the clinical workforce.

“A double whammy for the people at Waitemata is the latest figures showing increasing numbers being sent back to their own GPs after a referral without having a first specialist assessment.

“They have risen from 4055 in 2013/14 to 5617 in 2014/15, a 38 per cent increase.

“The Government is responsible for stretching the public health system to breaking point by placing unrealistic expectations on DHBs which then put unwarranted pressure on services.

“Jonathan Coleman has been warned time and again that these issues need to be addressed and he knows as well as anyone that mistakes are inevitable when staff are stressed and overworked.

“He cannot ignore this latest warning.”