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More than 3000 NZ registered nurses not valued

More than 3000 NZ registered nurses not valued by Government, say elderly care providers

More than 3000 of New Zealand’s registered nurses caring for the elderly have been offered a mere 1 percent by most district health boards, elderly hospital and residential care providers said today.

Nurses in public hospitals have been offered more than 24 percent but elderly care nurses have been presented with just a 1 percent offer, Residential Care New Zealand (RCNZ) president Simon O’Dowd said.

``The government clearly does not value the services provided to New Zealand's oldest and most vulnerable citizens,’’ he said.

``The district health boards (DHBs) are not funding resthomes and hospitals sufficiently for them to maintain a sustainable service for older people. The offer is pathetic.’’

The district health boards’ offer affected over 800 aged care providers who employ more than 25,000 staff in resthomes and hospitals.

The DHBs’ offer will affect all nurses who have chosen to work with the elderly. Elderly health care providers said they are committed to passing on the DHBs’ increase to staff.

Mr O’Dowd said the result of last week’s 1 percent proposal meant providers were unable to offer competitive wages, which would attract lower calibre staff.

``The consumer price index rose 2.4 percent last year and we want out staff to be able to maintain their standard of living.

``The overall impact of the 1 percent offer means providers will not be able to afford to employ registered nurses, less qualified staff will deliver care and facilities will close, which impinges on the community.’’

Hospitals are currently under-funded by over 10 percent, rest homes under-funded by over 24 percent and dementia units under-funded by over 25 percent.

Copyright 2004 Word of Mouth Media NZ

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