14 Aug 2015

Call widens for more hospital funding

6:45 pm on 14 August 2015

Nurses and junior doctors have joined calls for more funding for understaffed emergency departments.

generic hospital ward

Photo: 123RF

It follows warnings from emergency department (ED) leaders that the growing number of patients was stretching staff, some of whom were near breaking point.

They said increasing workloads were now common year round, not just in winter.

The Resident Doctors Association, which represents junior doctors, said district health boards drip fed staff, and then only to fill gaps in hospital emergency departments.

The association said extra funds were needed, and senior doctors should be present in EDs around the clock.

Nurses said they are also stressed by rising demands around the country for hospital-based emergency care.

A professional nursing adviser for the Nurses Organisation, Suzanne Rolls, said EDs could be stressful for nurses too.

"The intensity is not being let up. We've got nurses showing signs of stress, feeling burdened that they're not able to deliever the care to good standards, and trying to escalate those concerns through their district health boards."

Nurses said better planning was needed so more specialist nurses could help bolster emergency care.

The Labour Party said DHBs generally lacked funds to cope with rising demands for emergency care.

But the Health Minister said boards' funding has risen, and data showed emergency departments were coping well with demand.