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DHBs Caught Between Rock And A Hard Place

DHBs Caught Between Rock And A Hard Place

District Health Boards are being sandwiched between Health Minister Annette King's funding and commercial reality, when it comes to recruiting and retaining the quality staff that the Minister and the public demand, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Usually, the workers' unions push for wage and salary increases above the market rate. However, Ms King has allocated only 2.5 percent of the 2003/04 health budget for increases that barely match inflation. It is little wonder that our doctors, nurses and other health professionals, are being attracted overseas by better salaries and working conditions," Mrs Roy said.

"Anyone who thinks that health professionals in the public sector are overpaid should read the situations vacant section of any weekend newspaper. Ms King prevents DHBs from paying commercial rates and has a policy of intentional vacancies, so that they will `break even' at the end of the year.

"New Zealand Medical Council figures - released on 31 March - show that after three years, 30 of 100 recently graduated doctors no longer work in New Zealand. The Minister refuses to keep figures on the number of health professionals leaving our shores. If she did, the Government would have to do something about it - such a paying people properly.

"This is what Kiwis should expect from a state-owned monopoly - the private sector doesn't suffer from this problem. Until it is addressed, New Zealand cannot expect to compete in the global market for health professionals," Mrs Roy said.

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