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Budget A Mixed Bag For Nurses

May 23, 2002

Budget A Mixed Bag For Nurses

The Budget is a mixed bag for nurses and other health workers, according to NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals.

While welcoming the 12.2 percent overall increase in the health vote, it included the $400 million funding boost announced last September, he said. And district health boards would have to use $130 million to reduce their deficits.

Of major concern was the continued two percent annual constraint on increases in staff costs within the health sector. “This will make it very difficult to address the significant recruitment and retention problems plaguing the health sector. Quality health services require quality staff,” Annals said.

A pleasing aspect of the budget was the $36 million pledged to the continuing development of a vaccine for meningoccocal meningitis, which had reached epidemic proportions in New Zealand.

“The reorganisation of tertiary education is positive for the health workforce. NZNO has been advocating the direct funding of courses and we look forward to an increase in enrolled nursing courses and a reduction in fees for both this and registered nursing courses.

The fact there was no relief of student debt was disappointing, however.

Further comment from Geoff Annals on 025-434-193.

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