The health system and District Health Boards are under extreme pressure to deliver good quality and safe health care for all New Zealanders. Over the last decade severe underfunding of our public health services has meant our health system has failed to keep pace with our growing community need, the demands of an ageing population and ageing workforce, and increased costs of providing services. Our members have continually reported increased workloads, increasing patient acuity (patients are sicker coming into hospital), stress, fatigue, and lack of job satisfaction. This is contributing to high staff turnover and to lower morale. Our members are also impacted by inadequate levels of staffing, unhealthy shift rostering, the undervaluation of nurses work and a lack of appropriate access to continuing professional development and study leave.
We need to rebuild our public health system back to good health. The immediate staffing crisis has to be addressed. Full employment of new graduate nurses and employment of additional nurses to achieve the right skill mix matched to the needs of patients is required. This will enable nurses to maintain a standard of care that equates to their professional standards – a standard patients deserve. Our members salary structure does not adequately recognise experienced staff nor does it incentivise nurses to remain in the profession. Inadequate pay is contributing to a vicious cycle of high nursing staff turnover. Investment in fair pay for our DHB MECA nursing and midwifery teams is urgently required.
Every day the nursing team advocates for the health and wellbeing of patients, families, whānau and the community. But right now they are advocating for the wellbeing of nurses and the whole public health system. We are calling on everyone to add their voice to this campaign. We are asking the Government to make a bigger investment in public health care – to pay nursing and midwifery teams fairly, to ensure safe patient care and to ensure the right infrastructure is in place for our community. We want the Government to realise that New Zealand wants them to prioritise the rebuilding a quality public health system by investing in nursing, the largest workforce in health.
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Patient safety is paramount to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.
Our DHB nursing and midwifery teams have worked long, unsocial and often unpaid hours to keep patients safe and keep our public health system functioning.
But it has become too hard and the workforce gaps are now too big.
The only way to restore “good health” for our communities is to make a greater funding investment into our public health system and our nursing and midwifery workforce.
We support that the work of nurses, midwives and health care assistants be recognised and valued.
It’s time to rebuild our public health system – the good health of Aotearoa is relying on you.
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