Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces

  • Hon Dr David Clark

A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says.

  • 1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office
  • 106 more midwives
  • 582 more doctors
  • 531 more allied health workers

“This Government is determined to address the long term challenges we have inherited, and it’s pleasing to see our increased investment in health is delivering results,” David Clark said.

“Nurses are at the heart of our health services. They are often the first point of contact for people seeking healthcare.

“Unfortunately, nursing was among a number of key health workforces which the previous Government did not support enough to keep pace with increasing population and demand for services.

“As a result, our nurses came under increasing pressure including limited pay and unsafe conditions.

“This Government has acted by funding DHBs to pay more nurses more money and investing in better training. This is the key to growing the capacity and capability of our workforce. 

“There are more nurses than ever across New Zealand’s DHBs, almost 1500 more since this Government took office.
“While there is always more to be done to strengthen our workforce, we are starting to see some positive changes, and there are more opportunities for new nurses. 

“My visit to Dunedin Hospital today was an opportunity to thank staff at Southern DHB for the hard work they do every day. It’s good to hear about some of the initiatives that are helping support the region’s nursing workforce.

“That includes the DHB’s new enhanced training programme for theatre nurses, based on a similar programme at Auckland DHB, helping these graduate nurses get off to a great start in their careers.

“This year the DHB has employed its largest number of graduate nursing applicants. And next week 137 graduates will have their applications from the latest Nursing Advanced Choice of Employment (ACE) round reviewed. ACE supports DHBs to recruit new graduates into supported first year of practice programmes.

“Beyond nursing, this Government’s step change in health funding has also reversed the decline in numbers of DHB employed midwives under the previous Government, with more than a hundred added since we took office. 

“We also have almost 600 more doctors in hospitals, and more than 500 additional allied health workers.

“Along with transforming our mental health services and our unprecedented investment in hospital buildings, our workforce development programme is a key part of our plan to ensure our health services can deliver the high quality care all New Zealanders deserve, now and into the future,” David Clark said.