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Nurses unfairly blamed for systemic failures

1 August 2013:

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is extremely disappointed and disturbed that Rymans is publically blaming nurses for failure of care in their Malvina Major facility in Wellington.

NZNO industrial advisor for the aged care sector, David Wait says “All NZNO members will be appalled by the treatment of the elderly woman at the centre of this case and we support the family in their call for change and improvements to the sector.”

“However this must not be considered an isolated incident. Residential aged care in New Zealand is in crisis as the Human Rights Commission Caring counts report identified independently last year.”

“The lack of mandatory staffing levels, inadequate registered nursing hours, training requirements and pay rates for carers on, or near the minimum wage, clearly show how undervalued this work is.”

“Nurses and carers simply cannot provide the care which they want to provide if the facility is understaffed and under resourced.  Residents have complex health and personal care needs. Evidence demonstrates that patient outcomes are negatively impacted when there are insufficient regulated nurses. We have heard from a former Ryman’s staffer that on night shifts there is only one registered nurse rostered on for the entire facility – that’s one nurse responsible for over 200 residents and patients, ” says Lorraine Ritchie, NZNO professional nursing adviser.

“There is something seriously wrong with the sector when taxpayers provided $800 million to Rymans last year to provide care for our most vulnerable elderly citizens and at the same time they post profits of $100 million. And that massive profit is up 19 percent on the previous year, and Ryman’s eleventh year of profit increases.”

“NZNO members have been lobbying for Government intervention to address this situation through better transparency in funding (including targeted funding for pay increases), the development of enforceable staffing levels, and the requirement of all workers to be trained. The Government must step up and make the changes needed to improve things for our elderly.”

Direct Media Enquiries To:

Please send all media requests in writing to

NZNO communications and media advisors are:

Samesh Mohanlall
021 240 3420  |  04 494 6839

Karen Howarth
027 725 2680  |  04 494 8242


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