MIL-OSI New Zealand: Government Cuts (Health) – Hospital frontline will be impacted by recruitment freeze – NZNO

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Source: New Zealand Nurses Organisation

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) is dismayed at the latest cost cutting measure implemented by Health NZ Te Whatu Ora.
In April, Health NZ Te Whatu Ora regions were asked to collectively save $105 million by July using “cost containment” methods including banning double shifts, pressure to take leave, non-replacement of sick staff and wiping unfilled roles.
Recruitment has now been paused on all hospital roles that are not patient-facing and all public health roles that are not community-facing as part of the cost cutting. Health NZ Te Whatu Ora says the new measures will not impact frontline services.
NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter says it appears that little consultation has been done on this change and what it will mean for frontline staff such as nurses.
“Health NZ Te Whatu Ora should have spoken to unions before going ahead with this move. It is inevitable that this recruitment freeze will impact frontline services. It will lead to understaffing in support roles such as administration, IT support, laboratory testing or data collection that will directly affect frontline staff. These roles are the ones that support frontline workers to do their jobs well. Health is a system that needs both frontline and non-patient or community facing roles to work effectively.
“Nurses have already told us that understaffing is chronic, and the cost cuts are further impacting negatively on what is already a very difficult working environment. Health NZ Te Whatu Ora needs to provide clarity on exactly which roles are part of this freeze and what the likely flow-on effects of this are likely to be.
“We know that the demand for healthcare is growing and will continue to grow. It makes no sense for Health NZ Te Whatu Ora to continue to demand more from their most important resource – their people – at the cost of further eroding the health system. The Government continues to underinvest in a health workforce for the future.
“We call upon the Government to provide the funds for appropriate staffing levels and proper patient care now and into the future.”

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