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Where Will Extra Nurses Come From To Stop Gaps?

12 December 2005

Where Will Extra Nurses Come From To Stop the Gaps In Primary Health?

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation agrees with the Minister of Health that nurses will play an increasing role in GP surgeries but questions where those nurses will come unless their pay issues are addressed.

Nearly three thousand NZNO members in primary health are gearing up for historic national multi-employer negotiations beginning on 20 December and bringing together 660 employers, mainly GP surgeries.

“The successful outcome of these negotiations depends on government funding for pay parity for nursing staff in primary health with their counterparts in DHBs,” said NZNO CEO Geoff Annals.

A delegation of NZNO members in primary health will present a public petition on Thursday to Parliament calling for the government funding needed for parity with DHBs.

“Nurses working in the community will be listening with interest to the current discussion about impending GP shortages,” said NZNO CEO Geoff Annals.

“Already nurses are playing a greater role and the success of Government’s primary health care strategy depends on a skilled and dedicated nursing workforce.

“But nursing shortages right across the primary health care sector are already an issue and the extra nurses needed in primary health will simply not be there unless those nurses are fairly paid.”

Geoff Annals said the Fair Pay settlement in DHBs early this year had created a pay gap between nurses working in public hospitals and those doing a job of equal value to the community in primary health.

By July 2006 the pay of a fulltime practice nurse working in a doctor’s surgery will be $160 less than a registered nurse working in a public hospital.

ENDS

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