Mental Health Staff Under Pressure

October 26, 2017


High patient demand and staff vacancies are causing Palmerston North Hospital's mental health ward staff to clock up hundreds of extra hours in overtime.


A MidCentral DHB Report shows Ward 21 staff worked an extra 93 shifts in July this year and clocked up 452.8 hours in overtime.


This was a massive increase compared with August 2016, where staff worked an extra 11 shifts and just 28.6 hours in overtime.


Mental health and addiction service director Christopher Nolan says the increase in workload and staff working double shifts was a real concern. He says the spike in hours was a result of high patient demand across health services, including community services, and also staff vacancies.


Mr Nolan says they have now had four months of resurgence of very, very high - level activity.


He says recruitment was a problem other DHBs were experiencing, including one DHB having trouble staffing its mental health crisis team.

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