Wednesday, February 28, 2024

NZNO welcomes new health minister

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) has welcomed the appointment of Dr Ayesha Verrall as Minister for Health.

NZNO Chief Executive, Paul Goulter said the organisation and its members looked forward to working with Dr Verrall.

“We know Ms Verrall is aware of the urgent need to lift the number of trained and qualified nurses and to ensure pay and conditions are equal across the health system,” said Mr Goulter.

“Our hope is that, with the Government’s recently stated commitment to health, we can begin to meet nurses’ values and expectations so the right numbers of nurses are attracted into training and onto placements, and that those already in the profession will want to stay.

“In particular we look forward to working with Ms Verrall to increase number of Māori and Pasifika nurses and to building a Tiriti-based health system that is culturally appropriate so all communities receive the care they need.”

Mr Goulter said the ongoing pay equity dispute and lack of pay parity were among the biggest challenges the new Minister of Health will face this election year.

“The lack of pay parity results in acute shortages of nurses in various sectors, as they move into the higher paid parts of health or leave the sector entirely,” he said.

“This means some sectors, such as Primary Health Care, Māori and iwi, Aged Care etc, cannot find or keep staff which leads to shortages that reduce health services in communities leading to poorer patient outcomes.”

He also acknowledged departing Health Minister, Andrew Little.

“I would like to thank Mr Little for the work he did in the health arena and I wish him well with his new portfolios.”

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