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Sonographers' Strike No Surprise

Sonographers' Strike No Surprise

Monday 3 Nov 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

It is totally unacceptable that patients urgently requiring ultra-sound scans to diagnose often sinister illnesses are being forced to wait up to five months to be seen at Whangarei Hospital, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Health Minister Annette King is expecting GPs to manage more serious and numerous cases in the community. While GPs are up to the job, they need proper support and access to the top technology needed to make accurate diagnoses," Mrs Roy said.

"Whangarei Hospital is unable to retain enough staff to handle the workload, and it is not surprising that sonographers are striking for better pay and working conditions.

"The Health Ministry must accept some responsibility for allowing this situation to develop - more attractive pay is available at other hospitals throughout the country, including Auckland, so why would anyone be attracted to working at Whangarei Hospital?

"Working conditions and pay are significantly more attractive overseas. While the Health Ministry does not keep figures of health professionals leaving the country, anecdotal evidence indicates a constant flow of New Zealand-trained health professionals leaving our shores.

"In essence, we are training our health professionals for export. Until the Ministry measures numbers, and we have an idea of how prevalent this problem has become, the issues involved will never be debated honestly," Mrs Roy said.


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