10 Jul 2008

Doctor shortage in Auckland hospitals, says union

4:03 pm on 10 July 2008

The union representing junior doctors says the Auckland region is experiencing its worst vacancy crisis on record, leading to a dysfunctional hospital system.

The Resident Doctors Association, which is in pay negotiations, says the Auckland District Health Board alone is short of 24 registrars, Waitemata is down 15 positions, and Counties Manukau needs 13 jobs filled.

The association's general secretary, Dr Deborah Powell, says hospitals are constantly full, staff levels are deteriorating, and patients at Waitemata hospitals can face waits of two days.

Waitemata DHB chief medical office Johan Rosman says calling the board a shambles is unfair, because it is facing problems like any other.

Dr Rosmansays staff shortages, while painful, are a fact of life.