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What's In New Funding For Nurses?

10 December 2001

What's in new funding for nurses?

Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley welcomed a new three year funding plan for the health sector but said fundamental pressures such as low wages for nurses, radiotherapists and other health professionals, and the ballooning DHB deficits, were still not adequately addressed in the new package.

"A three year funding plan which allows DHB's to plan ahead is a welcome and long overdue move," said Ms Kedgley.

"However the Green Party is not convinced this package will address the underlying problems - that health costs are far outstripping revenue growth in the health sector, as a result of which DHB deficits have been rising by more than $1.7 million a week over the past 13 weeks.

"Clearly we need to invest substantially in wages for scarce health professionals such as radiologists, if we are to pay internationally competitive market rates and attract and keep them in New Zealand.

"We also believe substantial wage increases for nurses and other health professionals are needed to address the acute shortages of qualified staff in many New Zealand hospitals," she said.

"While we welcome the emphasis on primary healthcare and on identifying and treating health problems earlier, we are extremely disappointed there is no significant funding package for preventative health measures which eliminate the underlying environmental and social causes of ill health, so that people do not become ill in the first place.

"Investing in preventative health care measures such as cleaning up contaminated sites, reducing pesticide usage, eliminating industrial sources of dioxins, improving the New Zealand diet, reducing alcohol and drug usage, and investing in nutrition education are essential if we are to improve New Zealand's health status."

ENDS

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