Recommendations for nurses' pay rise 'fall short'

Doctor putting on protective gloves
Photo credit: Getty

Nurses say the latest attempts to resolve an impasse in pay negotiations "fall short" in regards to pay.

Recommendations include a one-off lump sum payment of $2000 to each nurse and wage increases - but the union says it would prefer an increased salary scale over a lump sum payment and the recommended increase to wages is too slow.

An independent panel was formed to help reach an agreement between the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and the country's 20 District Health Boards.

The panel has come back with a series of recommendations to hand on to District Health Boards. It will be up to DHBs to decide which of the panel's recommendations they offer the nurses.

The panel recommendations include:

  • The Minister of Health set expectations around staffing of DHBs
  • A lump sum payment of $2000 to be paid on ratification to each nurse and midwife covered by MECA.
  • A 3 percent wage increase from June 2018
  • A 3 percent wage increase in recognition of the cost of living from 1 August 2018
  • A  3 percent wage increase in 2019

The panel said it was disturbed at the number of reported significant staffing shortages.

The panel's chair Margaret Wilson said she's confident the recommendations would enable parties involved to resolve the impasse.

"The panel recognises just how valuable nurses are to the health workforce and it is important for DHBs to explore ways they can strengthen the leadership and influence of nursing within their organisations for the good of patients and staff."

The union says members will be pleased to see recommendations that reflect concerns about a lack of staff.

"Of particular note is the recommendation for an additional 2 percent funding to ensure DHBs have the nursing and midwifery workforce capacity to deliver the required patient services. This is a significant recommendation and not seen previously for nursing and midwifery."

The panel recommends a 2 percent increase to DHBs' funding for nurses and midwives, possibly one of the first nibbles on the Government's rainy day contingency fund.

Newshub.