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Budget Reflects Old Ways of Thinking

Budget Reflects Old Ways of Thinking

It would be easy to be lulled into security by a seemingly generous application of money to health in the latest budget. The NZ College of Nurses through its executive Director, Professor Jenny Carryer of Massey University, has no argument that health remains a pressing and growing need for investment.

As nurses however we would focus a much larger portion of that investment more towards long term sustainability rather than propping up the demand.

A recent high level Health Think Tank held in Auckland argued clearly for the need to reduce demand and increase efficiency if health services are to be sustained into the future. This will not be achieved by continuing to do what we have always done.

Some key signals in the budget suggest there is certainly no change in thinking at Ministerial level.

For example a large amount of money has been specifically directed towards postgraduate medical training. More sustainably this money should be provided to align with an all-professions workforce strategy based on consumer demand. It may be that health would be better served by increasing allied health, midwifery and Nurse practitioner services. It is also vital that we build the Maori nursing and midwifery workforce . Additionally funding entry to practice years for new nurse graduates is a vital step in long term workforce sustainability through retaining our own graduates.

Another sign of old ways of thinking is the announcement that “GP visits” for up to 13 years will now be subsidised. In reality and more properly money is provided to provide service to General Practice patients from whomever is best placed to deliver the care. It might be a GP, it might be a Nurse Practitioner and it might be a nurse. The Minister's office needs to show leadership in recognising that flexibility and diversity are needed if health services are to be sustained.

Information about the College of Nurses-
The College is a professional body of New Zealand Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners from all regions and specialties. It provides a voice for the nursing profession and professional commentary on issues which affect nurses, and also the health of the whole community. Its aim is to support excellence in clinical practice, research and education and to work with consumers to influence health policy. The College is committed to the Treaty of Waitangi and the improvement of Maori health. This commitment is reflected in the bicultural structure of the organisation.

The College of Nurses Vision is “100% Access, Zero Disparities in healthcare for all New Zealanders.


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