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A courageous budget was needed, a weak budget was delivered

A courageous budget was needed, a weak budget was delivered

Nurses around the county are feeling disappointed that Budget 2014 has failed to deliver the increase in DHB funding required to even maintain current service levels. More cuts and increased pressure on nurses will be the result, with the inevitable flow on affect of compromised patient care.

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) researcher and policy analyst, Dr Jill Clendon says, “There is nothing in the Budget to address pay equity issues in the aged care sector. There is very little for Māori health services, or for dealing with stagnant wages, growing food and interest rate costs which result in more inequality and poverty in our communities. The overall emphasis remains on ongoing fiscal restraint in public services.

“A glimmer of hope for the nursing workforce is that $820 million is set aside to purchase national health services and provide clinical training, but there are no specifications as to the level of funding that will be allocated to nursing. Nurses are the largest workforce in the health sector and their needs should have been considered more carefully.”

“Extra money for screening for rheumatic fever does little to prevent the development of the disease – healthy housing initiatives and increased housing stock may go some way to addressing the overcrowding that contributes to rheumatic fever but will not necessarily address issues of poverty,” Clendon says.

“NZNO strongly support the extension of free GP visits and prescriptions for under 13 year olds and we hope that when the details are released the scheme will be workable. Free health care for under 6s took several years to implement with the level of funding insufficient for many general practices to be interested in the programme. We hope this won’t happen again.”

“We agree with the Council of Trade Unions that increases to paid parental leave are welcome, and a victory for working women everywhere. It’s a step in the right direction but we will continue to advocate for 26 weeks of paid parental leave.”

“Overall, NZNO sees Budget 2014 as a budget of crumbs. There are so many areas where the Government could have taken strong leadership and made a big difference for all New Zealanders. Instead we will all be left to pick up the pieces of an increasingly stressed health system,” Dr Clendon says.

ENDS

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