Health Minister - Launches Ministerial Taskforce on Nursing

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English today launched a Ministerial Taskforce on Nursing to undertake the first major review of nursing in New Zealand for more than 15 years.

"I am announcing this Taskforce in response to calls from nurses and nursing organisations. This Taskforce is different. It is going to take into account a whole cluster of issues relating to healthcare and nursing that we know about from students and research, particularly that conducted over the last decade.

"We know that there is a huge untapped potential in the ways nurses are currently employed. We also know there can be much smarter utilisation of nursing skills. This Taskforce is going to focus on exactly that, by identifying barriers to reasonable change and what strategies are needed to make that reasonable change happen. The Taskforce will deal with issues critical to the future of nursing in this country," Mr English said.

"The Taskforce will report to me by 31 May 1998. The short reporting deadline recognises the urgency of this work.

"We have sought a high calibre and diverse membership for the Taskforce both because of the importance of its work and because its findings need to reflect the current and potential diversity of modern nursing," Mr English said.

"New Zealand has more than 40,000 registered nurses. Nurses tell me that their combined pool of talent, knowledge and skills is under-valued and not as well used as possible. They say the traditional type-casting of nurses, inadequate post-graduate education, out-dated legislation and regulations, as well as the way we contract and fund health services are holding nurses back.

"As we move to more integrated health services it is essential that everyone involved is able to best use their knowledge, skills and professional relationships for the good of patients," Mr English said.