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Nurses Still Taken For Granted

Media Release
29 June 2004

Nurses Still Taken For Granted

New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart says that the good nature and professional ethics of New Zealand’s nurses are still being taken for granted by a Minister of Health who today managed to dodge making any definite commitment about when nurses could expect to have their pay inequities addressed.

“Even the presentation of a petition with 125,000 signatures calling for Government to fund DHBs to pay nurses and midwives fairly and to ensure staffing levels that are safe for patients and nursing staff in our public hospitals was not enough to prompt the Minister into action.

“New Zealand is facing serious problems in the recruitment and retention of nurses and if we want to meet our workforce needs in the future, we have to recognise the worth of our nurses now,” said Mrs Stewart.

“In the past, extra funding has been given to District Health Boards to address perceived shortfalls in other areas but nursing staff are often the last to benefit.

“Despite the Minister’s efforts to fudge the issue the time has come for the Government to provide the funds to the District Health Boards to ensure that nurses are paid fairly and that staffing levels are adequate. The money should be ring fenced so that it cannot be diverted anywhere else,” said Mrs Stewart.


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