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Hospital’s unsung heroes present fair pay petition

PSA MEDIA RELEASE

September 10, 2008


Hospital’s unsung heroes present fair pay petition at Parliament

Staff in public hospitals who do essential administrative work presented a 6000-signature petition at Parliament today highlighting the low pay they receive for running our hospitals.

“These workers are the unsung heroes of our health system,” says Warwick Jones, Assistant National Secretary of the PSA which represents 5000 hospital administration and clerical staff.

“These workers actually run our public hospitals,” says Warwick Jones. “They do the administrative and clerical work that enables the doctors, nurses, anaesthetic technicians and other medical staff to focus on treating patients.”

Despite the fact that hospitals can’t run without these workers their pay starts at just $26,000 a year. This is $4500 less than the starting pay for hospital cleaners, kitchen hands and orderlies.

“Hospitals need cleaners, kitchen hands and orderlies but they also need administration and clerical staff,” says Warwick Jones.

“It’s unfair and unacceptable that the starting pay for these workers is $4500 less than cleaners, kitchen hands and orderlies,” says Warwick Jones.

He says hospital administration and clerical staff are fed up with this lack of recognition for the essential work they do in keeping our health system running.

“They’ve gathered 6000 signatures on their petition in just six weeks,” says Warwick Jones.

“The petition highlights their low pay and the need for pay increases that recognise the importance of the work they do,” says Warwick Jones.

Richard Wagstaff and around 70 hospital administration and clerical workers, who belong to the PSA, presented the petition to Government MP Sue Moroney at Parliament today. (Wednesday September 10)

The petition notes that administration and clerical staff are the only large group of hospital workers who don’t have nationwide pay rates or a nationwide collective employment agreement. They also haven’t received the pay rises that other hospital workers have received to recognise the value of the work they do.

The administration and clerical workers do a wide range of jobs that enable hospitals to function. They include medical record clerks who keep track of patients’ medical records. Medical typists who type up doctor’s notes. Booking clerks involved in booking patients appointments with specialists and for surgery. And clinical coders who enable the Ministry of Health and district heath boards to keep track of the money provided for operations and other medical procedures.

ENDS

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