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Memo Musa Speech Safe Staffing Accord

Beehive parliament 10.45am 30 July 2018

NZNO chief executive Memo Musa at signing of the Safe Staffing and Care Capacity Demand Management: Effective Implementation Accord.

Tēnā Koutou, Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Katoa

Thank you for the invitation to speak today Minister.

I would like to introduce NZNO president Grant Brookes who has been a campaigner for safe staffing, particularly in mental health for many, many years. I also acknowledge Associate Manager Professional Services Hilary Graham-Smith (not here today) who has worked relentlessly to promote this safe staffing mechanism.

I also acknowledge Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne.

I am confident the implementation of this Accord, that is fully backed by government will bring to an end many, many years of attempts by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation to get this proven Care Capacity and Demand Management, safe staffing programme into our public hospitals.

It is the vital tread of a roadmap to securing ongoing safe staffing for the health workforce and for New Zealanders.

Over many years, the top concern of the New Zealand nursing and midwifery workforce has been the understaffing and, the resulting unsafe healthcare environment for staff and patients – as previously reported in the NZNO Employment Survey 2017.

This accord takes hold of this distressing issue at the very top level and we commend the Minister and whole Government for this move.

I congratulate the health workforce: - the nurses, midwives and health care assistants for coming together – to have their voices heard at the top level of government. I therefore congratulate the Government for turning their ears to the increasingly loud voices of this health workforce.

Safe staffing is about the wellbeing of nurses and the ability for them to nurse at their best but, it is also about safety of patients and for them to have the service from the health workforce they deserve.

Safe staffing is having the right staff, with the right skills, in the team at the right time. It is also about predicting this requirement in advance as much as possible.

Over recent years, clearly there has been reluctance by District Health Boards to advance safe staffing and Care Capacity Demand Management. The slow pace of implementation has been unacceptable to NZNO.

Nurses, after a decade of underfunding, said to us they just felt it was pointless at times to carry on with CCDM when clearly there was no way the hospital could afford to bring in extra nursing resources to meet the needs of patients, and to ensure the well-being of nursing teams.

What I feel today that is that the end of the vicious cycle of severe underfunding and, low morale because of this, is clearly in sight.

Along with the safe staffing aspect of this Accord, NZNO is pleased to finally see that the funding of new graduate placements in nursing roles is likely to be boosted in the near future.

All graduates should be placed when they join the Nurse Training Entry into Practice scheme.

This is in line with the priority and goal agreed by nursing leaders that by 2018 there should be 100% employment of all new graduate nurses in a government funded training programme. This will bring and retain more nurses into the workforce.

In addition, the Accord addresses the fact that many experienced nurses have left the workforce but may well be enticed back. NZNO commends this progressive approach.

Indeed, many nurses have said to us they would stay if various aspects of their appointment were adjusted. We are keen to assist with this work.

In closing:

I am delighted to be here and to speak today as we celebrate the signing of this Accord.

I acknowledge and thank Director-General of Health Ashely Bloomfield and Jim Green, CEO Tairāwhiti DHB for their commitment to the Accord and once again, the Minister of Health Dr David Clark.

The world over nurses are raising their voices about the risks to their patients and themselves as the health need grows.

I congratulate NZNO leadership, its members and the public that have supported them on this mission for safe staffing and this government for putting a line in the sand to say, ‘enough is enough’ and no more.

New Zealanders deserve this Accord, as do the workforce.

Thank you.


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