Are Rural Hospitals on the Brink of Crises?

According to the survey conducted by the managers of the New Zealand Institute of Rural Health (NZIRH), the tumbledown state of the rural hospitals poses a major risk to both patients and doctors.

The findings claim that the hospitals are on the brink of a major crisis due to a shortage of qualified medical staff.

As per the story of the survey published in New Zealand Doctor magazine, Buller Hospital had gone through 170 doctors between 2001 and 2009.

It also reported that other hospitals were also struggling to fill up their allocated positions. Figures reveal that with 80.9 fulltime positions for general medical staff budgeted for only 53.9 were employed, proving that only 33% of the positions were either not filled or were covered by locums.

According to the managers, who conducted the survey 92% of managers claimed there was a lack of locum staff. Though only half rated the shortage as critical.

The findings also highlighted that only 53% of rural hospitals credential their doctors which means the remaining are not authorized to work in different areas of medicine.

The survey also found that 36 %of rural hospitals had no designated medical leader. Further the hospitals that had a medical leader had only one specialist in the position.

Industry experts feel that due to the rise of the specialization trend, the hospitals were facing a shortage in staff that could cover a wide range of areas, as was required by the rural hospitals.

Another reason attributed for the shortage in staff could be the unwillingness of the young graduates from urban centers for not wanting to move to small rural towns.