Nurses' dispute: DHBs to sign up to safe staffing accord

District Health Boards, the NZ Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and the Ministry of Health are signing up to a 'safe staffing' commitment - an attempt to smooth out the nurses dispute over pay and conditions.

The Accord will mean a commitment to employing additional staff in the immediate future and the full implementation of 'safe staffing' by 2021.

The Accord notes decreasing nurses' workload will "take time to rectify."

Health Minister David Clark will act as witness to the parties signing up to the agreement.

"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," Dr Clark said in a statement.

"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.

The NZNO has been recommending nurses accept the fifth offer made by DHBs, which kept the previous benefits and would introduce a new top salary rung at an earlier date.

All non-essential hospital care was brought to a standstill when nurses took part in a 24-hour strike two weeks ago.

Nurses had been offered pay increases between 12.5 percent a 15.9 percent over 25 months, and 500 more nurses to cope with staffing shortages. But that wasn't enough for nurses.

The Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has been appealing to nurses to accept the offer, saying there's no more money for pay rises.

Health Minister David Clark's been saying the same, but he's avoided answering whether there could be an offer of additional staffing.

The Accord will be signed on Monday.