The New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says it received more than 2,700 responses in just two days after inviting members to send a message to the Minister of Health about the nation’s health crisis.
NZNO Kaiwhakahaere, Kerri Nuku said the health system was actually on the brink of collapse, just as many health professionals had voiced via the NZNO survey.
“Ninety-nine percent of responding members said the system was either in crisis (70%) or already beyond crisis (29%),” she said.
“What word we use to describe this situation is probably not important, but the Government’s insistence that this is just a temporary situation caused by covid and a cold winter has made nurses feel unheard and completely undervalued, and that is evident in the messages to the Minister.”
Many survey respondents were furious, and many were “in tears as they write”, she said.
NZNO President, Anne Daniels said the fact that so many went to such lengths to share their thoughts was significant.
“Decades of poor planning, inadequate funding and outright neglect have led us to a time of absolute crisis in terms of pay, staffing resources and morale across the nursing sector,” said Ms Daniels.
“This isn’t a temporary glitch; many are seeing it as the end of the road, with 72% of respondents saying they are either seriously thinking of leaving nursing or New Zealand, or that they had already made plans to do so.
“This is not union officials opining in Wellington. These messages are the heartfelt pleas of nurses and other health workers right across the country working in a wide variety of nursing sectors. We hope for their sakes that the Health Minister and the Government will be willing to listen.
“Interestingly, 95% of respondents said honouring the promised back pay to DHB nurses and extending DHB Pay Equity rates to all nurses in New Zealand, regardless of where they practice, was one of the most important things Government could do to help address the nursing/health crisis.”
NZNO said it will deliver the 330-page book of messages to the Health Minister at Parliament today.