The president comments ...
Article Type: Letter to the editor
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Accession Number: 266344823
Full Text: This year has seen an international focus on closing the gaps and addressing inequities in health. The focus is timely and certainty requires action before the divide becomes a gaping chasm. (1) The problems have been highlighted in numerous reports and the evidence is overwhelming that things need to change. (2,3) So what is happening here in New Zealand to address these inequities?

The focus of the current government in the health sector has been "better, sooner, more convenient" and, as nurses, we know continuous changes are occurring to implement this vision. (4) Are the changes making a difference? Do they actually achieve the desired outcomes? More importantly, are the changes closing the gaps and balancing the inequities in health? The short answer to all those questions is, not yet. However, small steps are being taken in the right direction.

I would like to highlight one of the nursing innovations that wilt make a difference and certainly will improve access to services, once it's spread to the wider population. Many will be aware a Health Workforce New Zealand pilot programme for nurse prescribing in diabetes is now underway in a number of district health boards. The evaluations to date have been very positive. The initiative will certainty Lead to changes in the Medicines Act regarding nurse prescribing. This news is being welcomed by nurses, nursing Leaders and nurse academics who have Lobbied for this change for a Long time. The change is tong overdue and I took forward to celebrating the success when the Legislation is passed through parliament in the near future.

There are numerous other examples of nursing innovations currently being piloted that will also Lead to improvements in health outcomes. These successful programmes will also Lead to other necessary legislative changes that wilt enable nurses to reach their full potential.

Election manifesto

The nurse prescribing pilot is an example of one small step. What else needs to be done? The NZNO election manifesto outlines some priorities for health that NZNO members would Like the incoming government to consider. (5) These include: safe staffing, healthy workplaces, investing in the nursing workforce, promoting healthy lifestyles and a health system that's fair for aft. The manifesto outlines some solutions to current problems in health that wilt require some investment by the government to ensure a sustainable health system in the future. You can down load the manifesto from www.nzno.org.nz/elections. I urge you to take the time to read it and start lobbying your local MPs to make a difference for the health of ate New Zealanders.

References

(1) Commission of Social Determinants of Health. (2008) Closing the gap in o generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the Commission of Social Determinants of Health. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

(2) International Council of Nurses. (2011) Closing the gap: increasing access and equity. Geneva: ICN.

(3) Picket. K. & Wilkinson, R. (2010) The spirit level: why equality is better for everyone. United Kingdom: Penguin.

(4) Ryall, T. (2009) Better, Sooner, More Convenient: Health discussion paper. Wellington: National Party.

(5) Head, M. (2011) New Zealand Nurses Organisation Manifesto Election 2011. Wellington: NZNO.
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