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Health Minister to headline nurses’ conference

Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall will take the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) stage this Wednesday morning (10am) when she delivers the opening keynote at the Organisation’s 2023 conference at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.

The Minister will address more than 200 people including about 180 union members who make up a mixture nurses and health professionals from all health sectors in Aotearoa.

NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said the Minister will be warmly welcomed by their members but with an upcoming general election our members are all interested to hear what she has to say.

"We have been appealing to politicians from all parties to make the current health crisis and more especially the workforce crisis a priority in the upcoming elections," he said.

"While we acknowledge the initiatives she has made since becoming Minister of Health, there is more that the health sector desperately needs."

Paul Goulter said health was no longer something to be put on the backburner but had become an absolutely pressing matter in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"The health system has become interwoven with every fabric of society and how we deliver our health services needs to be under the microscope.

"What we want to know is how the needs of the workforce and patients will be met."

In line with the tenets of NZNO’s Maranga Mai! every nurse everywhere deserves to be paid fairly, treated fairly, and be made to feel safe, he said.

"It also goes without saying that we also need cultural sensitivity in the sector toward Māori and Pasifika."

The NZNO Conference forms part of a two-day event that includes the AGM, a nursing awards dinner and the conference itself.

The state of the health system, impacts on Māori as both the workforce and as users of the system, and the changing role of the nurse will be discussed by a panel of experts at the conference on Thursday.

Other guest speakers include activist and lawyer Annette Sykes, and former Te Whatu Ora chairperson Rob Campbell.

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