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Labour responsible for health workforce shortage

Hon Tony Ryall National Party Health Spokesman

25 January 2006

Labour responsible for another health workforce shortage

National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, says the Labour Government has known about a looming nurse shortage for years and has done nothing effective to fix it, and now sick babies' lives are being put at risk.

He is commenting following reports that New Zealand's six neo-natal units are facing a staffing crisis.

"It is irresponsible for the Government and the Health Minister to have ignored this," says Mr Ryall.

"New Zealand now has almost an entire health workforce in crisis, with shortages from GPs, to midwives, to theatre nurses, to neo-natal nurses, to homecare workers.

"The Government has been paying lip service to the workforce shortage. Report after report has been written but little action taken.

"Something needs to be done right now to recruit new staff and make places for those who have trained but can't find jobs.

"Too much money is being wasted on bureaucracy and political correctness, instead of going where it is desperately needed - recruiting, training and retaining health professionals.

"This Labour Government has put billions more into health but has little to show for it - and now the workforce crisis is approaching a critical level," says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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