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Public health system the winner

30th June PSA Media Release

Public health system the winner from historic union pay jolt

"The public health system is the winner from the 'pay jolt' for the over 12,000 Public Service Association members in District Health Boards who receive pay increases which average between 12 and 20 percent from tomorrow," said Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary.

"These pay increases will ensure that our District Health Boards can address the recruitment and retention problems that have undermined our public health service," said Richard Wagstaff.

The PSA negotiated regional Multi-Employer Collective Agreements to address the historical lack of funding of the health system and to ensure consistency of terms and conditions of employment for allied health professionals throughout New Zealand.

The new employment agreements cover allied health workers including social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and dental therapists; mental and public health nurses; technicians and assistants.

"Allied health workers are made up of a large number of professional groups of health workers who play a vital role working in multi-disciplinary teams in the day-to-day running of our health system," said Richard Wagstaff.

Bargaining for the regional employment agreements started in April 2005 and settlement was reached after more than 20 days of bargaining, six days spent with a Department of Labour mediator and strike action.

"The professional expertise and support provided through the intervention of allied and technical staff are critical elements of a high performing health system and maintaining this workforce is therefore of great importance," said Richard Wagstaff.

"Treatment outcomes are significantly improved for patients when they have access to allied health professionals."

"There is intense competition internationally for the services of these allied health professionals. The new agreements will help to keep allied health professionals working in New Zealand."

"The government has shown a commitment to the health of all New Zealanders by funding this $150 million settlement."

"While we are disappointed that clerical and administrative workers in the health sector remain outside the agreements, we will be now be working to ensure that this important, female dominated profession get decent pay and conditions too." said Richard Wagstaff.

ENDS

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