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Health Funding Bodies Must Take Note Of Primary Care Nurses “Stop Work” Action

General Practice employers have their hands tied by a broken funding framework and the solution to the primary care nurses pay parity claim is out of their control. That’s according to GenPro, the General Practice Owners Association, whose objectives include advocating for the sustainability and viability of General Practice businesses and the services they provide.

Primary health care nurses will today be stopping work for two hours after mediation failed to resolve their claims for pay parity alongside their hospital based colleagues. However, the Chair of GenPro, Dr Tim Malloy (pictured), is adamant that the solution must come from District Health Boards (DHBs) as agents for the Government’s funding of primary care. “General Practice owners are totally constrained by a system which caps the fees they can charge at the same time as failing to appropriately recognise rising labour costs in the annual increase of capitation funding”.

Tim Malloy

GenPro believes that funding to achieve pay-parity for primary care nurses needs to be made available through DHBs as it was their previous collective agreement to increase pay for hospital based nurses which has created the situation whereby a well-qualified and experienced nurse is expected to work in primary care for typically 10% less pay than their DHB (hospital) counterparts.

Dr Malloy went on to say “General Practice income is derived from the Government’s capitation subsidy and separate patient fees. The funding framework limits both of those income streams and therefore rising costs will put the squeeze on the already fragile viability of essential front-line patient care – health funding bodies need to take note of the inequity and vulnerability they have created in the system and front-up with the funding to address it”.

GenPro continues to reiterate its message that it is time to change the underpinning principles and formulae that drive separate funding discussions across the health system – discussions which simply do not match the rhetoric of supporting a primary care sector that has also faced increased costs as the first line of attack against COVID-19 and is deemed a priority in letters of ministerial expectations.

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