The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) has noted the National Party’s commitment to providing better health services announced in Christopher Luxon’s State of the Nation speech yesterday.
However, NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said that commitment needs to be contrasted to what appears to be a complete lack of policy and funding detail centred on nurses and other frontline workers, who are key to providing the level of patient care we all want but currently don’t have.
"NZNO wants to hear how National plans to fix outstanding Nursing Pay Parity and Pay Equity issues, and precisely how they would go about ensuring we are recruiting locally the nurses we need and making the profession attractive once again to keep the nurses we have.
"Mr Luxon mentioned nurses just once in his speech on Sunday where he spoke about overseas recruitment.
"There was certainly no long-term solution in his speech to this crisis. We need to be growing our own, committing money to free fees and other incentives for nursing students within Aotearoa, and we need to be doing that right now because the short-term solutions are limited."
Paul Goulter said much more needs to be done to keep nurses in their jobs and this is dependent on commitment to fixing nursing Pay Equity and Pay Parity and increasing nurses’ wages.
"Every nurse everywhere needs to be paid fairly, as a shortage of nurses means patient care suffers throughout the health spectrum."
He said all political parties, including National, must make health a priority as we run up to the election.
"The country is in the midst of a health crisis, where people are not getting adequate care in their communities and when they go to hospital. Poor health outcomes for Māori are not acceptable. We need the details of how National intends to fix that," Paul Goulter said.
"National would do well to consult the workforce to make sure nurses feel heard - that means speaking with us.
"Our doors and lines are always open. We invite all politicians to come and talk to us if they are serious about his commitment to creating better health services in New Zealand."