Despite the former Minister of Health’s promise of pay parity for aged care nurses, what has been paid is less than half of what’s required.
Aged Care Association deputy chair, Warick Dunn says, “We are pleased that some money is now available for our nurses. They deserve every cent, and more. The aged residential care sector is nurse-led and, as a nation, we couldn’t care for older New Zealanders without them.”
“It is a blow to discover that the government has not honoured its promise.”
Aged care nurses are being paid up to $20,000 less than nurses who are employed by Te Whatu Ora in public hospitals, and that is the leading cause of nurse shortages and subsequent bed closures. More than 1,200 aged care beds have closed in the last year due to this severe shortage of registered nurses.
“This massive pay disparity was caused by government underfunding in the first place. The least it should do is fix it,” says Dunn.
“The funding that has been allocated will not stop the flow of aged care nurses to higher paying jobs in public hospitals, and it will not stop disruptions in the health care sector.”
“It’s traumatic for older New Zealanders who are displaced from closed carehomes or not able to enter care. Many end up in public hospitals, unable to be discharged until an aged care bed becomes available, which causes flow on effects to the entire system.”
Warick Dunn says, “This funding does not provide equity of access to health care for vulnerable older New Zealanders. The association is calling on the government to create the thriving and sustainable health care system it says it wants by funding pay parity.”