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NZ Life Care Promises Quality Care For Residents

NZ Life Care Promises Quality Care For Residents At Redwood Lodge, Despite Strike Action

New Zealand Life Care Limited says residents at its Redwood Lodge Rest Home and Hospital in Rotorua will continue to receive qualified, experienced care, despite planned strike action by New Zealand Nurses' Organisation members on Wednesday.

Rotorua-based New Zealand Life Care General Manager, Residential, Lynne Irwin, says she's disappointed the union members have decided to go ahead with planned strike action, despite an improved offer from the company.

"Families who have a relative at Redwood Lodge can be confident all our residents will receive qualified care, even though some staff will be on strike," she says.

"We have sufficient available experienced staff and registered nurses to meet health and safety cover, and they will be providing the hands-on care for our residents. The many members of the public who've volunteered to help will be assisting with activities such as meals and morning and afternoon tea, making beds and reading newspapers to residents."

Mrs Irwin says all volunteers will be required to meet Redwood Lodge's volunteer standards, and sign their volunteer's agreement.

She says threats have been made against potential relief staff.

"Some qualified staff who were available to help us during the strike have been threatened by members of the union, saying if they crossed the picket line they would have eggs thrown at them, their cars would get smashed and they would get bashed.

"It's extremely disappointing it has come to this, but we are still open to further discussions with the union," she says.

"We have increased our wage offer to just under 4%, but in some cases, staff will receive increases of up to 12%, as we are changing to a skill-based pay scale, and all staff have the opportunity to increase their wages by increasing their skills. Our offer compares very favourably with the current national average wage offer of 1.5-2.5%, especially when you consider staff have the option of moving up the pay scale by adding to their skills, rather than having to stick with a flat rate."

Mrs Irwin has again rejected comments by the union organiser as to the standards of care provided.

"We have recently been audited by the Ministry of Health under its new Health and Disability Standards. It is an extremely thorough process, involving interviews with residents and staff, and looks at ? among many other things ? staff to resident ratios. We received a glowing report. Redwood Lodge is only the second aged care facility in Rotorua to have been audited, and we have been certificated for the next three years, which proves we are exceeding all the required standards for private aged care," she says.

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