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Short-Sighted Ideology Cause Of Nurses Strike


“Short-Sighted Management Ideology Cause Of Nurses Strike”

“Short-sighted management ideology is the cause of the strike action planned by nurses employed in five upper North Island district health boards,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

Mr Powell was responding to the dispute that has led to scheduled strike action by nurses in the Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes and Tairawhiti DHBs and is currently before mediation. Health managers are refusing to allow senior nurses such as charge nurses to be covered by the collective agreement being negotiated between these DHBs and the NZ Nurses Organisation.

“This is straight out negative ideology that belongs to the failed business experiment in the health system in the 1990s. Managers promoting this divisive ideology should realise that this belongs to an era two general elections ago and they need to move on. Like senior doctors, nurses work best in cooperative team work environments rather than in artificially created divided camps.”

“Many senior doctors act in senior leadership positions such as clinical directors. But in recognition of the importance of encouraging team work and avoiding disunity, they are on the same collective agreement as their other medical colleagues. Health bosses don’t try this ideology on with senior doctors but do with nurses presumably because they see nurses as potentially more vulnerable.”

“District health boards are statutory bodies accountable to government. But these DHBS are ironically actively contradicting government policy. The government has made it clear for some time that it wants to encourage cooperative working relations between health professionals and avoid fragmentation of employment agreements in the public health system. Perhaps it is time that the government communicated its policies to DHBs in words of one syllable so that they might understand?”

“Health managers in these DHBs will be responsible if their hard-line ideological position forces nurses to proceed with strike action. And yet these managers don’t have to live with the effects. Instead it will be senior doctors who will be left to cope with the serious pressures and dangers to themselves and patients that will inevitably eventuate.”

“It is irresponsible and callous of managers to allow outdated ideology to force dedicated and committed nurses to take solidarity strike action and then leave senior doctors and patients to cope with the consequences. Managers need to reconsider their position and recognise that the 1990s are over and act responsibly,” concluded Mr Powell.


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