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Minister Ignored Looming Nursing Shortages

Minister of Health Annette King must ensure than the cancellation of hundreds of surgery cases at Auckland's Starship hospital does not happen again, National's Associate Health spokesperson Paul Hutchison said today.

"After 22 months in Government Annette King has continued to blame the last regime for nursing shortages when much of the evidence does not support her.

"Two leaders of nursing organisations claim that one of the major reasons for nursing shortages is poor pay and conditions. Starship says that half of last year's nursing graduates took jobs overseas.

"Annette King has had almost two years to address pay and conditions but instead has screwed down the hospital system giving hospitals only $900,000 in this year's Budget.

"Today in Parliament Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson wouldn't answer why the Government hasn't addressed the well-signalled nursing pay and condition problem.

"She said she hoped the droves of nurses going overseas would return to New Zealand for work but why would they when the Minister won't act on the poor pay and work conditions?

"Annette King has been utterly unrealistic in funding health. Starship's crisis could have been avoided if the Minister addressed the issues rather than blaming others. The 300 children and their families affected deserve better from the Minister," Dr Hutchison said.

Ends


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