INDEPENDENT NEWS

Guaranteed Recipe For Medical Errors

Published: Fri 13 Jul 2001 02:14 PM
“Overworked Senior Hospital Doctors Widespread: Guaranteed Recipe For Medical Errors”
“Overworked senior hospital doctors is widespread and a guaranteed recipe for medical errors some of which harm patients,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was commenting on the statement by the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal that Wairarapa obstetrics and gynaecology specialist Dr Jeff Harrild was subjected to heavy workload and a poorly resourced maternity unit.
“Dr Harrild’s situation is typical throughout New Zealand especially in the smaller provincial hospitals. Many senior doctors are working in intolerable conditions through a combination of inadequate levels of support staffing, including junior doctors and nurses, poor resources and long working hours. The public quite rightly expects A+ quality standards of care while those providing it are forced to work in exhausting D- working conditions.”
“Exhausted doctors means exhausting the ability to provide safe care for patients. His professional colleagues regard Dr Harrild as a highly dedicated and skilled specialist. The fact that such a committed and able person can make errors because of this pressure highlights the seriousness of the stress senior doctors are placed under.”
“The sooner governments, health policy makers and health managers wake up to this harsh reality of the effects of exhaustion and stress, the better for all concerned. Unlike doctors none of them are exposed to the strict disciplinary processes and public exposure that senior doctors are,” concluded Mr Powell.
Ian Powell

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