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Support staff in health sector necessary

Support staff in health sector necessary

The National Party should not give out only half the facts when they start attacking hard-working health sector employees, PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.

"Tony Ryall has released figures showing an increase in district health board workers over the last five years. He did not, however, make public the increase in nurses and doctors over the same period."

Richard Wagstaff said that as at 30 June 2000 there were 8,031 DHB clerical workers; 17,296 nurses, and 4,498 doctors. In fact there has been a decrease in the proportion of administrative and management staff in relation to the amount of nurses and doctors. Tony Ryall's analysis is ill-informed. As at June 2005 there were 9,825 clerical workers (a 22.3% increase); 21,282 nurses (23% increase), and 5,737 doctors (27% increase).

"Those extra doctors and nurses require support staff. We strongly doubt that New Zealanders would want or expect their clinicians in hospitals to spend a large amount of their working day on administrative functions. The National Party's prescription for health would take doctors and nurses away from their already demanding jobs.

"These extra people, clinicians and support staff, reflect the large increases in government expenditure invested in health over the last few years and which are having a big impact across New Zealand. Public health services are unquestionably in a better shape today than they were at the end of the 1990s."

Richard Wagstaff said Tony Ryall's statements gave an ominous clue as to what kinds of cuts the National Party would apply to our health system and the sort of chaos they would bring.

"These people work at the front-line in our hospitals and are the nerve system of the health sector, and too often their contribution is overlooked. We would expect the Opposition spokesperson on health to have a more informed understanding of how the health sector works."

The PSA represents more than 16,000 workers in the health sector including clerical and administrative workers in district health boards.


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