The impact of inadequate health funding due to Government under spending is starting to cut, squeeze and burn, chief executive of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Memo Musa said today.
“The 2016 Budget made it clear that the Government was not properly assessing actual funding needs of New Zealand’s health system and had not planned for future needs. We are now seeing the negative consequences of an inadequately funded health system,” Memo Musa said.
“The Council of Trade Unions now calculate the shortfall in health spending to be $1.8b. This needs to be injected into Budget 2017 and to increase each year.
“Our members have told us underfunding is now affecting patient safety, access to care, triggering care-rationing, health-worker burn out and straining the infrastructure.
“NZNO urge the government to make health funding, with a future vision, the number one 2017 general election priority,” Memo Musa said.
The NZNO Shout Out for Health campaign launched today mobilises and supports nurses to tell their stories about the fractures in the health system.
“We are encouraging nurses to shout out for health, and speak up about impacts on the care they provide in communities, hospitals and primary care due to health underfunding,” Memo Musa said.
An NZNO nurse said today she feels stretched between meeting the needs of patients and fulfilling her responsibilities for the nursing team as a Duty Manager. She said it can be challenging to fulfil both without safe staffing levels. She has joined the Shout Out for Health campaign to tell her story, as she wants her team to be able to focus on caring for patients without stretching themselves too thin during shifts.
New Zealand needs:
• $1.8b injected into health and funding to keep up with need
• Full employment of graduate nurses and the funding of Nurse Entry Training into Practice funded for all graduates with a specific focus on retaining Māori and Pacific graduate nurses
• Planning and career development for nurses to be sure there are enough nurses at all levels
• Nurses supported to continue to upskill through postgraduate education and training to work in aged care, community and primary care.
• Improved linkage in service planning and estimation of health workforce requirements via the Care Capacity Demand Management System to achieve safe staffing levels
• A government-led examination of the mental health service delivery.