Release: Staff switcheroo to turn on lights at surgical unit

The Government has not committed to doing any additional operations in a newly opened surgical hospital on the North Shore of Auckland.

“Labour built the Tōtara Haumaru facility to do an additional 15,000 procedures a year, but today the Government is opening it without a plan to do any new operations. It will mostly take staff from other postings and be doing surgeries that were already planned to go ahead in other hospitals,” said Labour health spokesperson Ayesha Verrall.

“Minister of Health Shane Reti was desperate to turn the lights on following mounting pressure over this vital facility sitting empty, so Health New Zealand have moved surgeries from existing hospitals to the new hospital, to give the appearance that it is up and running.

“Budget 24 did not increase funding in real terms meaning staff numbers are restricted. That’s why Health New Zealand has transferred most of the staff from other hospitals.

“Health New Zealand’s hiring freeze began in April, and it has been widely reported in media that clinical positions nationwide are not being filled. Minister Reti needs to end the hiring freeze and enable full recruitment so that the facility can provide the additional 15,000 procedures as it was designed.

“If Minister Reti was serious about making sure New Zealanders get the healthcare they need, he would allow hospitals to hire the staff they need. After all, he campaigned on there being a workforce crisis.

“The National Government has no plan for our health workforce, and if today is anything to go by, I am very worried for the state of our health system. This government is taking New Zealand backwards,” said Ayesha Verrall.

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