Sunday, April 14, 2024

Nurses call for urgent meeting on ‘health crisis’

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) has called on the Health Minister to convene an urgent meeting of sector spokespeople to address what they describe as the country’s nursing and health crisis.

The call follows what NZNO says have been a series of “inaccurate and disparaging remarks” made in the media by Minister Andrew Little about NZNO and other organisations.

NZNO Chief Executive, Paul Goulter said the Minister’s comments were “unhelpful”.

“Just one example is the matter of the DHB Pay Equity back pay, which is before the Employment Relations Authority – exactly where the Government’s legislation says such disputes should go,” said Mr Goulter.

“To say NZNO reneged on the deal is inaccurate because no deal can be accepted until it is voted on by members, and to accuse the organisation of lying – speaking with a forked tongue – is misleading and inflammatory. It is unhelpful and ignores the wishes of the 35,000 DHB NZNO members who voted overwhelmingly not to proceed with the proposed settlement’s ratification.”

He said Minister Little’s comments have upset and angered members, and added to the “disillusionment they feel over his denial that there is a crisis and because their desperate pleas for help have been ignored for years”.

“Member feedback on the Minister’s comments today has been swift and angry, and they want to speak out,” said Mr Goulter.

“We are asking our members to use an online tool to let the Minister know directly what they face every day in their workplace to help him form a further view on whether or not there is a crisis.

“We’ll compile member responses and present them to the Minister and this will be a useful basis for a whole of sector Conference on the crisis and the urgent need to work together to find real solutions.”

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