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Flu Factor Stretches Nurses To The Limit

July 3, 2003

Flu Factor Stretches Nurses To The Limit

“Nursing staff levels are stretched to the limit as the flu factor and other winter ills hit hospitals around the country,” said the Nurses Organisation’s Organising Services Manager Laila Harré today.

Laila Harré said nursing shortages were already an issue, without the onslaught of the usual seasonal increase in demand for hospital beds.

“DHBs are scrambling to address this crisis which will only be solved when the nurse recruitment and retention problem is solved,” said Laila Harré .

“The recruitment and retention problem will not be solved until nurses are paid what they are worth.”

Laila Harré said low pay was a major factor in New Zealand’s nursing shortage and the issue urgently needed to be addressed.

“NZNO members have backed a strategy to achieve fair pay for nurses by 2004,” she said.

“Some progress was made towards this goal in the recent North Island MECA negotiations and the strategy is also reflected in NZNO claims in current negotiations for South Island nursing staff.”

Laila Harré said it was vital that the Government Pay Equity Taskforce, set up to address the gender pay gap in the state sector, delivered fair pay for nurses.

“Every day there is a nursing shortage across New Zealand, but when a factor like the flu factor occurs, that shortage becomes a crisis,” she said.

Laila Harré said MidCentral Health was currently short of approximately 50-60 nursing shifts a week and the shortage directly resulted in excessive patient/staff ratios which could compromise safety.

“This is typical of what is occurring around the country,” said Laila Harré.

“It is time to take the most important step to tackle the nursing shortage – a fair rate of pay.”


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