‘The point of desperation’

Government not listening: NZNO.

Government not listening: NZNO.

‘IS YOUR LIFE WORTH THEIR PROFIT?’: Just one of the placards held up as nurses, their family and supporters marched along Gladstone Road yesterday as part of 24 hours of industrial action. They marched from Childers Road Reserve to Heipipi Endeavour Park, where there were a number of speeches by New Zealand Nurses Organisation delegates. Picture by Liam Clayton

Striking nurses took their case to the Gisborne public yesterday as they marched along Gladstone Road during their first strike in 30 years.

Nurses went back to duty at 7am today after a 24-hour strike.

Most nurses expressed confidence that they had the support of the public although one was uncertain because of the complexity around pay level issues.

Sue Sharpe, of New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), said nurses believed they had not been heard by the Government.

The health boards’ declined offer was “only a start”, she said.

More staff were required to support stressed nurses and provide better care to patients.

Nurses did not want to strike.

“We’ve got to the point of desperation.

‘“We want to provide excellent care in the hospitals but with staffing levels as they are, and the inability to retain people, it’s just not possible to keep that going.”

The increased funding offered by health boards to provide extra staff equates to about six additional nurses at Gisborne Hospital.

But NZNO rep Christina Couling, supported by the nurses standing around her, said most departments at Gisborne Hospital needed six extra nurses.

Medical ward nurse and NZNO delegate Michell Krawczyk said the vote to reject the latest health board offer was much closer than previously, which did not surprise her.

“The new offer was fairer to those such as healthcare assistants, who didn’t get a decent deal last time, but the feeling among nurses was that health boards robbed Peter to pay Paul.”

Other nurses would have to wait longer to ‘‘get their pay steps’’, she said.

“Getting a definite date for pay equity was a bonus. They just need to address safe staffing more than they have.”

Mrs Krawczyk said it was a historic moment for many nurses to go on strike.

“Many weren’t even born when the last nationwide strike happened.”

Life Preserving Services agreements (LPS) with health boards allowed “great nurses who support the strike” to provide essential care during the industrial action.

“So a big thanks to them.”

District health boards national spokeswoman Helen Mason yesterday said hospitals managed a difficult situation well.

LPS agreements developed in advance of the strike enabled health boards to provide emergency and essential services, and to get assistance from NZNO members where required.

“With discharges, transfers and admissions, there has been very little change in hospital occupancy.

“Emergency departments also continued with a lower-than-usual demand.

“GPs and primary care providers have also played their part and Healthline has been slightly busier than usual for a Thursday in July.

“There are a lot of people that have worked very hard through the day to protect patients and staff, and many more will continue to provide care through the night.”

Striking nurses took their case to the Gisborne public yesterday as they marched along Gladstone Road during their first strike in 30 years.

Nurses went back to duty at 7am today after a 24-hour strike.

Most nurses expressed confidence that they had the support of the public although one was uncertain because of the complexity around pay level issues.

Sue Sharpe, of New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), said nurses believed they had not been heard by the Government.

The health boards’ declined offer was “only a start”, she said.

More staff were required to support stressed nurses and provide better care to patients.

Nurses did not want to strike.

“We’ve got to the point of desperation.

‘“We want to provide excellent care in the hospitals but with staffing levels as they are, and the inability to retain people, it’s just not possible to keep that going.”

The increased funding offered by health boards to provide extra staff equates to about six additional nurses at Gisborne Hospital.

But NZNO rep Christina Couling, supported by the nurses standing around her, said most departments at Gisborne Hospital needed six extra nurses.

Medical ward nurse and NZNO delegate Michell Krawczyk said the vote to reject the latest health board offer was much closer than previously, which did not surprise her.

“The new offer was fairer to those such as healthcare assistants, who didn’t get a decent deal last time, but the feeling among nurses was that health boards robbed Peter to pay Paul.”

Other nurses would have to wait longer to ‘‘get their pay steps’’, she said.

“Getting a definite date for pay equity was a bonus. They just need to address safe staffing more than they have.”

Mrs Krawczyk said it was a historic moment for many nurses to go on strike.

“Many weren’t even born when the last nationwide strike happened.”

Life Preserving Services agreements (LPS) with health boards allowed “great nurses who support the strike” to provide essential care during the industrial action.

“So a big thanks to them.”

District health boards national spokeswoman Helen Mason yesterday said hospitals managed a difficult situation well.

LPS agreements developed in advance of the strike enabled health boards to provide emergency and essential services, and to get assistance from NZNO members where required.

“With discharges, transfers and admissions, there has been very little change in hospital occupancy.

“Emergency departments also continued with a lower-than-usual demand.

“GPs and primary care providers have also played their part and Healthline has been slightly busier than usual for a Thursday in July.

“There are a lot of people that have worked very hard through the day to protect patients and staff, and many more will continue to provide care through the night.”

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