Health system buckling under Labour’s mismanagement

It’s unsurprising nurses have declined the Government’s latest pay offer when the Government’s own data shows it’s more interested in boosting the number of bureaucrats in the health system than our doctors and nurses, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

National has obtained data for the past 10 years which shows since Labour came into office the number of bureaucrats to doctors and nurses has increased.

“Nurses already feel undervalued, Labour has been more willing to pour half a billion dollars into the health restructure and bureaucrats, but add the Government’s wage freezes and mismanagement of labour shortages in the health and aged-care sectors into the mix and it’s no wonder they’re planning two more strikes.

“New Zealand’s health system in both primary and secondary care is overloaded due to winter illnesses such as RSV and Rotavirus, the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and severe workforce shortages. We’ve seen immunisation programmes such as HPV and MMR delayed and staff feeling burnt out.

“These issues will only be exacerbated even more if nurses go on strike.

“The Government must reassess its priorities and focus on primary care and health outcomes by backing our nurses, rather than on bureaucrats and management.

“It can start by retaining the 1000 medical graduates who are already in New Zealand and at risk of needing to leave due to there being no pathway to residency for them. We desperately need these doctors and nurses to stay in the country.

“Then it should ditch its health restructure which is only going to create uncertainty for staff and patients over the many years it will take to transition, and instead use that $486 million on our nurses and increasing support for primary care.

“Right now Queensland is making a play for our nurses and they will move to Australia if the Government doesn’t do something quickly.

“Labour is pouring money down the drain of bureaucracy and restructuring instead of focusing on improving health outcomes and retaining the workers we have.

“The Government must realise that every dollar it wastes on trying to centralise the health system is a dollar that’s not available for our nurses, for cancer drugs or for surgeries.”

You can find data outlining the ratio of clinical staff to non-clinical staff here (and a graph), and a letter from Dr Reti to the Health Minister outlining immediate moves the Government could make to address our stretched health system.