Christchurch surgeon’s briefing paper exposes healthcare crisis

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 04, 2023 |

Colorectal Surgeon and Professor of Surgery Frank Frizelle

Christchurch City Council has been briefed on the ongoing healthcare crisis in Christchurch and the impact it is having on patient care and healthcare staff.

The briefing paper prepared by Colorectal Surgeon and Professor of Surgery Frank Frizelle highlights the shortage of healthcare staff and resources, which is adversely impacting the delivery and care provided to Canterbury patients, as well as the healthcare workforce at all levels.

He said the crisis was not limited to Christchurch but rather it affects the entire sector with significant staff shortages across most regions.

The briefing paper provides a summary of the current healthcare crisis facing Canterbury and New Zealand, what needs to change and the role the Christchurch City Council can play in supporting the call for change.

“The issues with the delivery of secondary care (what happens at public hospitals) is more severely impaired than at any point prior to Covid pandemic, due to staff shortages and long term failure to invest adequately in health infrastructure,” said Frizelle.

The failure of adequate workforce planning has meant that New Zealand is not trained, able to recruit and retain staff, and is trying to recruit in a highly competitive environment for staff.

This has resulted in medical burnout and the reality of practicing in an environment with resource depletion, which leads to an empathy depletion.

The briefing paper recommends a more active approach to workforce planning, focusing on recruitment, training, and retaining staff across all sectors.

It also calls for a commitment to capital investment into health infrastructure, including the development of Comprehensive Cancer Centres to close the cancer gap.

The briefing paper suggests that a whole-of-health sector approach needs to be used with the utilisation of private facilities in the period it takes to build capacity in the public sector.

In terms of what the Christchurch City Council can do, the briefing paper suggests writing to the Government, publicising its support on the Council’s Newsline web page, seeking ratepayer feedback on this issue (via Newsline), and writing to all Mayors asking them to support the initiatives being pursued by the Christchurch City Council on this issue.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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