Nurses To Rally Across New Zealand Calling For Increased Health Funding In Budget 2024

Published: Wed 8 May 2024 04:41 PM
Members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa will be holding public rallies at more than 20 locations tomorrow (Thursday 9 May), as part of NZNO’s national Day of Action 2024.
The nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora will be calling on the Government to increase funding to Health in Budget 2024 to resolve the staffing crisis.
These actions follow information NZNO has received from Te Whatu Ora under the Official Information Act that revealed the extent of the staffing problem in Aotearoa New Zealand.
During the year ending 31 December 2023 more than a quarter of nursing shifts were below safe staffing targets, and some wards operated below safe staffing levels nearly all of the time.
NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said nursing staffing is still in extreme crisis with nurses still leaving for Australia on a regular basis, or leaving the profession altogether because their own and their patients’ wellbeing continue to be put at risk.
"Budget 2024 will be released at the end of the month and must include increased funding for health if we are to solve the staffing problem and develop a local nursing workforce that can provide high quality care that meets the physical and cultural needs of all New Zealanders."
The nurses, at the Day of Action will be picketing to highlight unsafe staffing levels and speaking with the public about culturally appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios as a way of addressing the nursing staffing crisis.
Nurse-to-patient ratios have been implemented in Australia, California, British Columbia, Ireland and Wales, with exceptional results for nurses, patients and health budgets, and NZNO members want them put in place here, enforced by legislation.
But Ms Nuku says nurse-to-patient ratios are about more than just numbers.
"Skills mix and cultural appropriateness are also important to the staff we have on hand to provide care and Aotearoa could be a world leader in developing a ratios system that also meets our obligations under te Tiriti."
At the rally nurses will be speaking about their expectations for the Budget. Student nurses will also be speaking about the need for better financial and cultural support, including being paid during their full-time clinical placements.
More than a third of nursing students don’t complete their studies and Ms Nuku says this most often results from financial hardship and a lack of cultural support for Māori and Pacific students.
"Our hope is that the Coalition Government will listen to the voices of our country’s nurses and bravely acknowledge the continuing health system crisis with a Budget that realistically addresses our alarming rates of nurse understaffing."

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