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Nurses’ commended for professionalism during strike

Nurses’ commended for professionalism during strike; up to DHBs now to act with commonsense

“Nurses are to be commended for acting with great professionalism throughout their 24-hour strike,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“It would have been a very difficult decision for them to take strike action, and it no doubt reflects the depth of feeling about where their negotiations are at made worse by eight years of being treated as a balance sheet liability rather than a tremendous asset for achieving quality patient care.

“Throughout the strike they continued to show their commitment to patient care by providing nurses to maintain life preserving services, as agreed by the district health boards and their union, and to prevent the risk of permanent harm.”

He noted, however, that in many hospitals the number of nurses required to provide life preserving services was actually higher than the number of permanent nursing staff usually working (eg,

“That should really make health bosses sit up and take note, as it confirms how under-staffed the permanent nursing workforce is in our public hospitals.

“Usually DHBs make do by paying nurses to take on more overtime or by drawing on their casual (non-permanent) nursing relief pool. These are expensive options for DHBs.

“It would make sense for DHBs to reduce the cost of the expensive options and put money toward an improved pay offer without seeking additional funding from Government. That’s what they should do, and we encourage them to take a commonsense approach to resolving this issue with their valued nursing workforce.”

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