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DHBs Strike Contingency Response Going To Plan

Jun 9, 2021

District Health Boards say contingency plans at the country’s hospitals have been supporting care as intended for the strike by NZNO nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants that began at 11:00 this morning and ended at 7:00 tonight.

Spokesperson Dale Oliff says DHBs have coped well even though occupancy has been very high, and Emergency Departments have generally been as busy as a normal day.

“Hospitals have been full and busy, but arrangements for patient care and the delivery of life preserving services are working well and the national coordination centre is monitoring the situation closely.

“Everyone has been working to provide safe care for those who needed urgent medical treatment and I want to thank all of the other staff and volunteers who made themselves available as well as the union members who provided life preserving services support.”

Ms Oliff says it will be some time before DHBs know the full impact on elective services and non-urgent procedures, and our team has already reached out to the NZ Nurses Organisation and we urge them to join us and explore ways to settle these pay talks.

“DHBs understand the pressure on health professionals working hard to keep New Zealanders safe.

“In relation to the nursing and midwifery workforce, we’re working closely with the NZNO in two areas which we believe will form the basis of the settlement.

“Firstly, in the last three years DHBs have employed almost 3,000 additional nurses and midwives. A big part of that increased number has been the result of a joint programme called Care Capacity Demand Management matching DHB capacity to care with patient demand.

“Good progress is being made and while it isn’t completed yet, there are a number of other staff wellbeing measures DHBs have offered.

“Secondly, we acknowledge and accept the claim that this workforce has been historically undervalued and the joint NZNO/DHB work on the nurses Pay Equity Claim should be completed by the end of the year.

“The final settlement will take effect from 31 December 2019 – the offer of a $4,000 lump sum payment as an advance on the final settlement was part of that.

“Registered and senior nurses, and nurse practitioners, make up almost 80% of this workforce. The elements of the DHB offer bundled together would amount to an additional 4 to nearly 12% increase – even more for enrolled nurses and healthcare assistants who are on lower rates.

“That is in addition to pay increases of up to 16% in the last pay round.

“After the strike we will sit round the table together and get a better understanding of what the nurses want,” says Ms Oliff.

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