National will deliver more nurses and midwives, the party’s health spokesman Dr Shane Reti says. Photo / 123r
National will deliver more nurses and midwives
New Zealand’s health system is in crisis, with a severe shortage of nurses and midwives contributing to ballooning waitlists, delays accessing treatment, and dangerously overcrowded emergency departments.
are at the largest workforce at the frontline and are bearing the brunt of the shortage. Having to work long shifts without enough staff is driving stress, anxiety and burn-out.
There are reports of nearly 5000 New Zealand nurses registering in Australia since August.
Last year 4310 New Zealand registered nurses did not renew their annual practising certificate. This is the largest number over the past five years and an increase of 1300 more than the previous year.
Instead of urgently addressing the workforce crisis such as the timely fast-tracking of nurses to residency, the Government has restructured the bureaucracy, while hard-working and dedicated health professionals have struggled with the weight of a faltering system.
The sad result has been a significant increase in the number of Wellington-based health bureaucrats and a dangerous shortage of at least 4000 nurses and hundreds of midwives across the country.
We can’t stand by and allow our hard-working frontline to continue to burn out. That’s why National announced its plan to deliver more nurses and midwives.
National will encourage more New Zealanders to want to study nursing or midwifery, to successfully complete their nursing studies, and then to stay in New Zealand for at least five years after graduation.
To do this, National will pay nurses’ and midwives’ student loan repayments up to a total of $4500 a year for the first five years after graduating, provided they remain working in their profession in New Zealand.
Covering student loan repayments for five years means a typical registered nurse or midwife would see an increase in their after-tax take-home pay of $87 a week. Over a five-year period, they would be up to $22,500 better off.
To access the student loan repayment scheme, nurses and midwives will need to enter into a bonding agreement with the Government where they commit to working in New Zealand in their profession for at least five years in continuity after they graduate. There will be exceptions for illness and family planning.
National will also make New Zealand more competitive in the global competition for skilled workers by allowing qualified overseas nurses and midwives to come here on a six-month temporary visa, without a job offer, to look for work and to bring their immediate family members with them.
We will also establish a relocation support scheme, offering up to 1,000 qualified overseas nurses and midwives relocation grants worth up to $10,000 each to support their move to New Zealand.
The current government has overseen a crisis in the health workforce and restructured a health system in the middle of a pandemic. National will deliver more nurses and midwives so our hardworking frontline feel supported, and Kiwis can access the health care they deserve.