Govt removed warning system for overwhelmed EDs

The Labour Government removed the early warning system for overwhelmed emergency departments when it scrapped DHB targets for waiting times, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

Data compiled by National on the length of time people spend waiting in emergency department shows the number of people waiting longer than six hours began worsening when the Labour Government came to power in 2017, and has been deteriorating since.

“Increasing waiting times in emergency departments are an early sign of a stretched system,” Dr Reti says.

“Nearly every DHB has emergency department waiting times that are the worse now than they have ever been in the past five years. It is disappointing to hear the EDs in the Southern and Northland areas are now overflowing.

“The Government needs to urgently fix this issue before winter arrives, and before resources are further stretched by the upcoming Covid-19 and flu vaccination campaigns.

“National would do this by reintroducing transparent health targets for emergency departments and supporting primary care so that fewer people turn up at EDs.

“National would also tender for a third New Zealand medical school so more clinical specialists would be available as GPs and ED doctors.”

Data on ED wait times can be found here.