Bishop Randerson: Radiation Therapists Strike
10 January 2007
Radiation Therapists Strike
From Bishop Richard Randerson, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland
Moral failure in system that allows a pay claim to prejudice the lives of cancer and other sufferers Work should resume at once pending Government or other third party intervention.
“In a country like New Zealand that prides itself on its care for all its people, it is intolerable that some should run the risk of dying because of a strike over pay,” says Bishop Richard Randerson, Dean of Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Auckland.
“There is a fundamental moral failure in a system that allows strike action over a pay claim that prejudices the lives of cancer sufferers, or others in need of radiation therapy. Delays in treatment put at serious risk those for whom timely therapy is a matter of life and death. In addition to the stress of illness, there is the added stress of anxiety and uncertainty for both sufferers and their families. A system that fails to discern the priority of the importance of human wellbeing ahead of finance is morally deficient.
“The reasons for the strike are complex and not for detailed assessment by a lay-person. They include issues such as levels of training and expertise, comparative rates of remuneration, matters of recruitment and retention of staff, and the adequacy of government funding of health services. They appear to lie beyond the capacity of the parties involved in the pay claims to resolve by themselves.
“The humane and responsible step is for work to resume at once so that patients may immediately have secure access to life-saving therapies. The next priority might be for a third party to make an independent assessment of the situation and to make recommendations. Ultimately it is the responsibility of Government to ensure that essential services are provided to citizens, and government initiatives to this end would seem essential. Professional and systemic morality should put people first, and this sense of ultimate purpose needs to be recovered.