Budget 2017 does not bring relief to pressured nurses. It fails to increase operational funding to a level that would mean nurses are adequately resourced to keep up with current health care demand. The health budget is still short by $2b on what has been calculated as required to take care of New Zealander’s health needs.
Today’s health budget increase when the caregivers settlement is taken out is only a $500m increase in health spending and is $300m short on what is needed to keep up with the status quo and with commitments the government has already made.
Chief Executive Memo Musa says that while it is commendable to see the government addressing household poverty for families on the lowest incomes and the housing crisis, it is completely lacking in delivering primary health care funding and addressing the district health board needs
“We calculated that around $2billion was needed to get our healthcare system back on track. This budget goes nowhere near this and indicates a lack of commitment to adequately invest in the New Zealand public health service,” Memo Musa said.
“Research shows nurses are a cost-effective way of delivering better health care to our communities. The refreshed NZ health strategy “live well, stay well and get well” needs to be adequately invested in – both with workforce and for services closer to home in the community .
“Aged care particularly is facing heavier workloads and higher patient need with less funding and resources there is nothing in the budget to fund aged care to a level that New Zealanders deserve,” he said.
President Grant Brookes:
“Nurses are under pressure and now there is no relief in sight. This lack of investment in the workforce may really be the tipping point that triggers many in an aging nurse workforce to hang up their boots. This is the opposite of what we need. In addition there is no fat here to up-skill and attract incoming nurses.
“Nurses feel a sense of distress when patients miss out on the care they deserve because there are just not enough nurses to adequately staff health services.
“While it is good to see mental health initiatives, again the money is thin and it is spread out over all the DHBS and insufficient to meet an increase in demand.
“Council of Trade Unions calculate this budget brings a 3.5% increase in mental health spending. The client numbers are rising at about 5% a year so we actually needed a 7% increase to meet needs and costs,” Grant Brooks said.
Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku:
“It is good to see housing initiatives and social investment targeted to those that need it most and better access to family planning services, but New Zealanders need to see more government investment in public health education and for primary health community nurses.
“Community nursing and iwi health providers are doing the ground work to keep New Zealanders out of hospital. I am disappointed the government is not investing in healthcare sufficiently,” she said.
NZNO have an open letter to New Zealanders asking all politicians to make health funding their number one election issue. This has gained nearly a thousand signatories so far.