Wellington Scoop

Who’s listening to the nurses?

by Lindsay Shelton
Nurses at Wellington Hospital are alarmed, upset, shocked and disappointed by the resignation of chief executive Debbie Chin. Is anyone paying attention to their concerns?

They blame underfunding for their chief executive’s departure, and say that underfunding of the District Health Board has caused a highly capable leader to leave the top post. The chief executive of the Nurses Organisation says:

This is the fourth chief executive to resign because of underfunding of the District Health Board, which has been ongoing for many years. We are shocked and disappointed that the impossible task of running a DHB, providing good services to the community of Wellington as well as other DHBs in the Central region, without enough funds, has taken another head. This should ring loud and long alarm bells to Treasury and to Government that underfunding of the DHBs is causing havoc.

The Council of Trade Unions’ breakdown of Budget 2017 reveals health underfunding leaves the Wellington region short by at least $9 million this year alone. Memo Musa highlights a December 2016 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers showing that CCDHB proportion of the budget spent on nursing was low compared with Auckland, Counties-Manukau, Waitemata and Canterbury.

It therefore seem unimaginable more cost reductions are being demanded, when the issue is that of underfunding – there are no more efficiencies to be found, and cutting costs, especially in staffing, has the potential to lead to unsafe staffing and working environments for nurses

The nurses say they have had excellent working relationships with Ms Chin and many are personally upset she is leaving when she has been a great leader.

Doctors, too, praise the departing chief executive. A statement from their national secretary echoes the nurses’ concerns:

“Increasingly, productivity is being achieved at the expense of adequate staffing. CCDHB is understaffed on a number of fronts, including having insufficient doctors available to cover absences. As a consequence, resident doctors are being left to cope with normal patient workloads despite being below minimum safe staffing levels.”

The PSA confirms the reason for resignations at Wellington Hospital:

Four Chief Executives have resigned from CCDHB due to underfunding, and turning around significant net debt is not going to be solved without proper investment in the sector.

So who is listening to all these concerns? I’ve seen no response from Health Minister Jonathan Coleman. He shouldn’t be staying silent when so many people with knowledge and authority are agreeing on the reason for problems at Wellington Hospital.

NewsHub: Doctors warn of looking health crisis

1 comment:

  1. Mary M, 25. July 2017, 14:18

    There already is a health crisis. Coleman probably wants a new CE to make even more service cuts. Thing is we do not need an accountant running the hospital or a bureaucratic DHB making medical decisions (usually to decline needed care and treatments). I think the nurses have forgotten this fact. And no one’s been listening to patients.