New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 5 April 2023
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says it is not surprised that a leaked staff survey shows widespread lack of confidence that Te Whatu Ora restructuring will be of any benefit. The report reveals staff are feeling under-resourced and undervalued instead.
NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said it appears Te Whatu Ora has become bound up in the changes and taken its eye off the crucial frontline.
“Nurses are feeling that disrespect every day. They’ve been working their guts out for years with little recognition of their value or contribution.
“Is it any wonder that 5000 have shown interest in moving to Australia in the last six months? That’s 5000 people whose main job it is to keep you and me alive and well.
“Is Te Whatu Ora, and the Government taking that seriously? We’re just not seeing any evidence of that, and it’s soul destroying for nurses.”
Paul Goulter says nurses are typically asked to do more and more to keep their workplaces running until overwork becomes the norm. Yet when they ask for resources or report abuse they feel ignored by senior management.
“Why would you want to keep working under those circumstances? Why wouldn’t you head off to greener pastures for better pay, better recognition and less stress? That’s what many of our members who have left for Australia are saying.”
He says if Te Whatu Ora wants to be taken seriously, it must address these short-term problems.
“The last thing we need is another winter of discontent, but that is exactly what’s coming. A complete change of focus is required and Te Whatu Ora needs to make keeping the nurses it has as its first priority – and that means showing them respect and paying them adequately.
“Next we have got to put massive resources into recruiting more nursing staff into training now, and removing the financial and logistical barriers that stop many nursing students graduating.
“Then we’ve got to sort out long-standing pay problems like Pay Equity for Te Whatu Ora nurses, and Pay Parity right across the health sector. We cannot afford not to do this or there won’t be any nurses left, and we’ll have no one ready to replace those who have already moved on.”
Media enquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.