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Plunket nurses on overdrive to meet demand

Media Release
3 July 2005

Plunket nurses on overdrive to meet demand

Plunket nurses and health delivery staff have delivered a 60 percent increase in contacts with high need families over the last four years, and contact with all families is trending upwards, according to figures released today (subs: Sunday 3 July).

In the year 1 July 2004 – 30 June 2005, Plunket nurses made 501,508 contacts1 with families across the board, compared to 480,169 in the corresponding 2003 to 2004 period and 421,181 in 2002 to 2003.

Plunket’s general manager of operations, Colleen Fakalogotoa, said while the need of families is increasing the contacts Plunket nurses make is also increasing, as required by our Ministry of Health contract.

“It’s fair to say our nurses are operating on overdrive to keep up with demand for help and assistance from families throughout the community. This increase has been made possible by increased government funding and a workforce of determined Plunket Nurses and health delivery staff.

“Societal structure has changed and if families with young children are to receive the health and parenting advice and assistance they obviously need right now, we will have to keep operating in overdrive.

“Our nurses are amazing, but struggle to keep up with demand for their specialist services. We need more nurses and we need to pay them at least what DHB specialist nurses are paid. A registered nurse on the top salary scale working within a DHB receives 20 percent more than a more qualified Plunket Nurse, as of 1 July 2005.
.
“It is ironic that DHB-employed nurses without the requirement to practice at Masters level, and therefore holding lesser qualifications, are receiving higher salaries than Plunket Nurses. Plunket Nurses are required to hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Health Care Specialty Nursing, involving a 40 week education programme.

“The disparity in salary levels is already impacting on our ability to recruit and retain staff and is a significant concern to us. Given the demand for our service, parents are likely to also be concerned about this situation. Parents and Plunket greatly value the important work of our Well Child health staff,” concluded Mrs Fakalogotoa.

Ends

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