Tagata Pasifika

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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Just 19% of Middlemore ED staff think they have resources necessary to do their jobs

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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

A leaked Te Whatu Ora staff survey shows only 19% of respondents at Middlemore Hospital’s emergency department believe they have the resources needed to perform their jobs.

The Ngātahitanga Pulse Survey was conducted nationwide in December and the results were released to staff in February.

More than 1900 staff from Te Whatu Ora (Counties Manukau) responded.

Only 19% of staff working at Middlemore Hospital’s emergency department who completed it said they had the resources needed (including time, people, budget, facilities and equipment) to perform their roles well.

For staff working across Te Whatu Ora (Counties Manukau), that number was 33%.

A health worker in Middlemore’s emergency department said the findings were seriously concerning.

“The survey shows a huge mismatch between what resources the management think we have and what the frontline workers are saying,” she said.

She said she couldn’t recall a recent shift where the emergency department wasn’t short staffed.

“We had a disastrous shift a month ago where we were down a third of our nursing staff with huge numbers of patients in the waiting room.”

Burnout was a real issue, she said.

“People are being called on their day off to do more shifts, which isn’t a good strategy for staff mental health.”

She also said the hospital’s lack of bed space meant patients often couldn’t be moved out of the ED to a ward.

“We regularly have high risk patients being observed in the corridors.”

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) executive director Sarah Dalton said the survey results reflected the pressures on those working in hospitals nationwide.

“It’s not just the emergency departments, it’s the whole public health system,” she said.

“The staff just don’t have the resources they need to do what’s asked of them.”

Dalton said the now-defunct district health boards regularly carried out workforce surveys, but there was rarely any positive action taken after the release of the findings.

An independent inquiry into the death of a patient at Middlemore Hospital in June 2022 also found the emergency department was unsafe for patients and staff.

The report was written by emergency physician and Australasian College for Emergency Medicine fellow Dr André Cromhout, who described it as dysfunctional and overcrowded.

He expressed “serious concerns” about the degree of overcrowding, which he said was an indicator of significant systemic failures.

Te Whatu Ora was approached for comment.

Local democracy reporting

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