Minister brokers Accord on safe nurse staffing

  • Hon Dr David Clark

Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced a joint accord between District Health Boards, the Nurses Organisation and the Ministry of Health to ensure safe staffing levels in public hospitals.

“The Government is committed to making sure we have enough nurses in our public hospitals to ensure both their own safety and their patients’ safety,” David Clark says.

“It is clear we’ve been asking too much of our nurses and their workloads are not sustainable. The Government has heard the message from DHB nurses and midwives loud and clear – we agree safe staffing must be a priority.

“The Government has already committed to funding an extra 500 DHB nurses as part of the current collective employment negotiations. That commitment stands, but there needs to be ongoing work to ensure that DHBs deliver now and into the future.

“I accept that nurses don’t feel that DHBs have always delivered on previous commitments. As Minister of Health I will be requiring DHBs to make good on all staffing commitments.

“Under the terms of the Accord, DHBs and the Ministry will work with NZNO to monitor the implementation of the safe staffing tool ‘Care Capacity Demand Management’ (CCDM). There will be clear accountability mechanisms in place to ensure the required staffing is delivered.

“In addition, a strategy will be developed to help retain existing nurses and midwives in the public health service, and attract others back into the workforce. The Accord also includes a commitment to looking at providing employment and training for all New Zealand nursing and midwifery graduates.

“Issues of safe staffing and workloads have developed over many years of underfunding and everyone acknowledges they will take time to fix.

“We’ve always said we couldn’t fix everything in one go. This Accord establishes a forum to deal with these issues on an ongoing basis,” David Clark says.

The Accord will be signed on Monday at 10:45am, at Parliament.