The impact of rationing of health resources on capacity of Australian public sector nurses to deliver nursing care afterhours: A qualitative study

Julie Henderson, Eileen Willis, Luisa Toffoli, Patricia Hamilton, Ian Blackman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Australia, along with other countries, has introduced New Public Management (NPM) into public sector hospitals in an effort to contain healthcare costs. NPM is associated with outsourcing of service provision, the meeting of government performance indicators, workforce flexibility and rationing of resources. This study explores the impact of rationing of staffing and other resources upon delivery of care outside of business hours. Data was collected through semistructured interviews conducted with 21 nurses working in 2 large Australian metropolitan hospitals. Participants identified four strategies associated with NPM which add to workload after-hours and impacted on the capacity to deliver nursing care. These were functional flexibility, vertical substitution of staff, meeting externally established performance indicators and outsourcing. We conclude that cost containment alongside of the meeting of performance indicators has extended work traditionally performed during business hours beyond those hours when less staffing and material resources are available. This adds to nursing workload and potentially contributes to incomplete nursing care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)368-376
    Number of pages9
    JournalNursing Inquiry
    Volume23
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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