Increased fees, low wages.
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Publication:||Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032|
|Issue:||Date: May, 2012 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 4|
How timely and poignant is co-editor Teresa O'Connor's
editorial in last month's issue, in which she asks what the
solution might be to our primarily GP-driven primary health care (PHC)
system. "Centre PHC on patient need, not provider profit," she
This was a timely message for our rural region where a dispute between the district health board (DHB) and rural community doctors is now before the court. Meanwhile, a number of rural towns are deprived of after-hours services, pending the outcome.
The primary health service is outsourced to a private company. So, instead of the health money going to primary health services, the money goes to another layer of chief executive and management. In the meantime, as a nurse working in aged care, I have to deal with palliative care patients, sick residents and their families, and my only option is to send them to the hospital by ambulance. This means using a volunteer organisation to fill the gap. It makes waiting times for accidents and emergencies dangerously long, as there are only limited services available.
Unless we stand up for our smaller communities, we may be in this situation forever. Health Minister Tony Ryall has already stated (during Parliamentary question time late last year) that it is okay for us to have to contact a triage nurse in Auckland 1000s of miles away. Similar events in other rural areas indicate a trend toward taking away services to save money.
This brings me to the recent increase in NZNO fees. Although I fully understand NZNO needs the income to run a successful organisation, I may have to decide soon which memberships and insurances I can no longer afford. The recent DHB multi-employer collective agreement only makes my hourly rate look even more dismal. While nursing responsibilities are increasing, my wages are at the same level as seven years ago. As nurses, we need to push harder with politicians for equal pay for all nurses, no matter where they work. A licence to operate an aged-care facility or non-government organisation should depend on that provider offering equal wages and safe staffing levels. It is disgusting that a nurse with a bachelor degree earns only $25.91 per hour.
You might say I am free to choose where I work, but my residents have a right to professional care too, despite the fact they are living in a for-profit residency. Please let my extra fees for NZNO go to industrial action on a big scale. Shake up the country, because soon there will be no nurses left.
Gerrie Ligtenberg, RN, BSc, GradDip Gerontology, GradDip Health Management, Dip theatre nursing (the Netherlands), Temuka
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|