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Ministers Changes To Rest Home Care Supported - But More Work Needed

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

3 September 2008 - The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) strongly supports the changes signalled by the Health Minister David Cunliffe today. The changes proposed include the rating of rest homes, surprise audits and the introduction of minimum staffing levels.

These announcements come on the back of years of campaigning by union members working in aged care including the presentation of a 12,000 strong petition presented to the Health Minister last week for safe staffing across the whole residential aged care sector (this includes rest homes and licensed aged care hospitals.)

NZNO Organising Services Manager Cee Payne said "The government's immediate attention to the issues of unsafe staffing, low pay and inadequate training for nurses and caregivers in our rest homes and hospitals is critical in dealing with the current crisis around quality and safe care for our elderly. The problems in aged care can be fixed, and they must be fixed as quickly as possible."

"Minimum staffing levels need to be ensured for both the registered nursing staff and also for caregivers who make up the bulk of the workers in the sector. Currently there are no minimum staffing levels in our aged care hospitals and we have evidence that employers quite deliberately do not develop rosters based on the agreed voluntary guideline" said Payne

NZNO is calling on the Government to introduce a system similar to that used in the Early Childcare Sector where identified levels of trained staff are required for providers to benefit from Government funding.

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