New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 3 October 2023
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says the National Party’s new health policies announced today ring hollow because they don’t address the missing workforce needed to deliver them.
NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said there was nothing new in what National announced and that the policies, while laudable in themselves, presupposed there were sufficient health staff available to deliver them.
“Increasing maternity services is a great idea, but how are you going to do that without the nurses and midwives to support new and expecting mothers?
“Increasing clinical training placements is also great, but what will National do to make nursing and other health worker training more attractive – other than student loan payoffs that come too late to really help struggling nursing students?”
Ms Nuku said recruiting and retaining nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora is the ‘make or break’ behind any health policy and that National is conspicuously quiet on how it will urgently recruit 4000 nurses or respond to the needs of frontline staff so they will stay in their jobs.
“Christopher Luxon has said National ‘will be doing everything [they] can to boost the health workforce,’ but very little beyond that.
“What about funded free training for nursing students so they don’t start work with a massive debt in the first place? What about more Māori and Pasifika nurses so people receive culturally appropriate care and need health services less?
“What about decent wages and Pay Parity across the health system so every nurse everywhere is equally valued and earns the same according to their experience and qualifications? What about mandated staff-to-patient ratios to help ensure the safety of nurses and the people they care for?”
She said health should be at the top of discussion this election because the system is hanging by a thread and will fall apart unless more nurses are found and/or kept.
“That has serious implications for the health care we and our loved ones receive, and we need to be putting concrete solutions in place now. The best health policy in the world will fail miserably without the workforce in place to support it.”
Media enquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617 | email@example.com