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Brown's remarks "dangerous"

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Brown's remarks "dangerous"

Comments made by the Chairman of the Auckland District Health Board to the health select committee should set alarm bells ringing throughout the health sector, says the New Zealand Medical Association.

"Wayne Brown's ill-considered comments about replacing older, more experienced staff with younger, cheaper staff pose a danger to the New Zealand health service" said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.

"There are international shortages of senior nurses and of medical specialists in most disciplines. New Zealand is trying desperately to attract staff to fill current vacancies. If our senior people are made unwelcome in New Zealand, they can easily find work elsewhere and our health service will be the poorer for it.

"There is a very good reason why staff costs represent 60 percent of hospital budgets - they provide all of the services. Mr Brown's outburst shows that he knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

"These attitudes highlight the urgent need for a comprehensive, strategic approach to workplace development in the health sector. The NZMA has been calling for just such an approach for years. DHBs must be prevented from making destructive staffing decisions to reach short-term financial targets.

"The Government needs to act now to prevent costly mistakes which threaten the long-term viability of our health services."

ENDS

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