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Time for Canterbury DHB to Take Responsibility

27 November 2006

Time for Canterbury DHB to Take Responsibility

The Canterbury District Health Board must take full responsibility for surgery shortcomings resulting from strike action.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) CEO, Geoff Annals, says that “any strike action involves a choice by two parties: a union who decides striking is the only option to obtain an outcome and the employer who decides they would rather manage a strike than agree to that outcome. Canterbury DHB has decided that scrapping plans for extra surgery is preferable to agreeing to the unions’ claims.”

Geoff Annals says that scaremongering about industrial action jeopardising $3.2 million in funding is clearly designed to direct public outrage towards the unions. “The fact remains that the DHB is responsible for the impact on the public. The DHB manages the service and has a range of options for delivery in the event of a strike,” he added.

Heading into negotiations on behalf of 20,000 DHB nurses, NZNO is concerned that comments from Canterbury DHB representatives do not support a constructive bargaining process that favours solutions over confrontation. The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) bargaining with DHBs is already going to mediation. “One of the difficulties parties in negotiations can face is the pre-determining of outcomes. NZNO is focused on issues-based bargaining and finding solutions that work for the sector, employees and the public,” says Glenda Alexander, NZNO Industrial Advisor.

Under funding and misspending underscore the ongoing challenges in the health sector. “The public deserves top quality health care provided by professionals who have safe, healthy working conditions and appropriate levels of pay,” says Glenda Alexander.


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