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Who Will Staff Our Hospitals, Minister?

Who Will Staff Our Hospitals, Minister?

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today criticised Health Minister Annette King for allowing the Health Ministry to recommend that District Health Boards restrict enrolled nurses' areas of work, and predicted that this move would only exacerbate the critical nursing shortage in our hospitals.

"Having already failed to address the serious staff shortages in our hospitals, Ms King allowed her Ministry to write to DHBs, recommending that enrolled nurses be restricted from working in acute wards, including psychiatric settings. This will make the situation infinitely worse," Mrs Roy said.

"While instructing the DHBs to remove enrolled nurses from acute areas, this memo gives no indication as to how their work will now be done. This shows that the Minister is completely out of touch with what goes on in our hospitals - either that, of she is receiving exceptionally poor advice.

"Enrolled nurses form 12 percent of the active nursing workforce, and many work in acute areas of medicine - where they have around 15 years experience. The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says the Health Ministry has given no consideration to the skills and extra qualifications of enrolled nurses.

"Labour wants all enrolled nurses currently employed to be moved from acute and psychiatric wards, into areas with `predictable outcomes', but has given no thought to who will now do their work. Once again, Labour is governing by edict - and when things start to fall apart it will, in true Labour style, leaves others to take the blame," Mrs Roy said.

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