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Govt can't avoid funding pay parity for nurses

Govt can't avoid funding pay parity for primary care nurses

The Government has no choice but to fund pay parity for primary health care nurses, says the Green Party's Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley.

The New Zealand Nurse's Organisation today launched a campaign calling for community-based primary health care nurses, mostly those working for GPs, to have pay parity with their hospital counterparts. This follows the recent Fair Pay settlement for District Health Board nurses, midwives and health care assistants.

"The Government should recognise that the inevitable follow-up to the Fair Pay deal for hospital nurses is pay parity for their primary health care counterparts," said Ms Kedgley.

"Without parity, these nurses will leave in droves and primary health care will be run down. The Government has made a substantial investment in this sector in recent years; do they really want to see this happen?

"So I congratulate the Nurses' Organisation on their campaign launch today and hope that the employers they're negotiating with will join them in pressuring the Government for more funding.

"Pay parity for primary health care nurses should only be the first step in improving the conditions for these essential workers. Greater autonomy and devolved responsibility for nurses would allow a more preventative approach to primary health care. For instance, nurses all around New Zealand could be running diabetes and respiratory clinics and other outreach facilities within the community.

"The Greens hope pay parity can also be quickly extended to nurses working in the residential and aged care sectors and that we will soon see a significant improvement in conditions for other health workers, such as home care workers. Without such moves, we will see workers voting with their feet and moving to the areas where there they can get a better deal, which would be a disaster for staff retention rates at these essential services," said Ms Kedgley.

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