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Nurses.

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, July 27th, 2018 - 76 comments
Categories: class, class war, culture, employment, Ethics, health, health and safety, infrastructure, Social issues, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Way I see it, nursing is one of those occupations where, if nurses pay was doubled, it wouldn’t be too much to be giving them. There are a few other occupations like that.

But it seems from feedback and posts across facebook pages, that nurses are up against two fronts in their bid for better wages and conditions. Sadly, but not unusually, one of those fronts is their very own union whose bureaucratic gatekeepers officials are urging they accept the latest “revised” offer that’s on the table.

Why, when they already struck on the 12th of July, do the “powers that be” (union officials included) think some revision of an offer will cut the mustard? And while we’re at it, why do all the pom pom wavers for industry wide awards, that come with a ban on strike action, think that’s a way to go? Maybe the current nursing situation will elicit some pause for thought on that front and the laying aside of some pom poms.

Place a nurse next to factory worker, next to a bureaucratic functionary, and shave a dollar off their wage until they say they will quit. I’d punt the factory worker would take off in a flash. Their job is likely crap and they are only doing it because they really have to. The bureaucratic functionary will likely bail at a level that would make maintaining their nice middle class lifestyle a bit shakey. But a nurse, like others in similar professions, will suck it up for quite a while, because they have a passion for doing what they do – they are motivated by things beyond fear of abject poverty (the factory worker) or simply maintaining some modicum of middle class comfort (the bureaucratic functionary).

 

But eventually the nurse will snap. Eventually, dedicating ones working life to nursing will become problematic or untenable. That (I’d argue) would most obviously express itself by way of staffing level shortages.

And we have them.

Where are we at as a society when a profession that attracts those exhibiting some of the better facets of human nature, offers wages and conditions so lousy that even the better among us row back from choosing it as a career path or quit?

Nurses, like caregivers, and others in the business of ensuring our wellbeing should be looked up to and rewarded well for their work – not subjected to business and government taking advantage of their better nature to diminish their work conditions. And no nurse should ever have to stand outside two doors, one marked “union” and the other marked “boss” and ask themselves which one they should negotiate with first.

76 comments on “Nurses. ”

  1. adam 1

    There is somthing fundamentally wrong with the trade union model. It has become a bureaucratic mechanism built solely for its own survival.

    Unions, need to either become industrialised, that is across industry unifying works of all professions and trades together in one big union.

    Or they need to strip out all the bureaucratic mess they have accumulated over the years and start again. Either way, they are not currently working – as the nurses union is just one example of.

    As for the government and business exploiting people, we have an economic system built on exploitation, and if those of a humaine disposition can be fully exploited, then it is going to happen – again, and again and again.

    • Hi, Adam. E tu is the largest private sector union by far and it covers workers across most industries. If you meant all workers ‘within’ an industry, then the Teachers unions, Nurses, PSA, Meat Workers, RMTU and others, already do that.

      Unions are not bureaucratic. The days of overstaffing went with compulsory unionism and the Contracts Act a few years later made damn sure unions had to operate on tight budgets.

      The Nurses Organisation is not ‘dominated by men’, as you claim elsewhere. Most staff are women, women feature prominently at governance level and this current negotiation is headed by a woman, Cee Payne.

      The previous offer was rejected by a majority … just. The new offer may be rejected as well. Maybe. But that has nothing to do with bureaucracy and all to do with democracy.

      Members of the NZNO decide when a deal is done, not the negotiators. They have a vote, the negotiators do not. That’s exactly the same in every other union too.

      So, ignore the anti-union bollocks and celebrate the fact that democracy is so well respected in the NZNO that even the near half that voted ‘yes’ last time accepted the narrow majority position and joined the picket lines with their colleagues.

      That’s actually a fantastic result for the Nurses Organisation.

      • adam 1.1.1

        You seem to lack some basic understanding of what bureaucratic means, I suggest you have a wee look at Weber, he will clear any misconceptions for you. And putting up your own straw men to knock over is quite laughable way to argue – just saying.

        So the el presidente of the nurses union is a women?

        I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your one of the bureaucrats who needs to get out of workers way so they can organise to suit themselves, am I right their te reo putake? Your language is quite defensive, and you seem to rush to the defence of a broken system quite often? But it’s only a guess, you could be a stay home mum for all I know.

        • te reo putake 1.1.1.1

          This is a common definition:

          ” … relating to a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives.”

          So the exact opposite to unions then. Try not to be a goose, Adam.

          Weber’s definition, which possibly only you and I are familiar with, isn’t mentioned in the post or your comments above. So the only strawman here is one of your own making.

          Funny really. I gave a detailed, accurate and positive response to the post and your guesses about how the NZNO operates and you gave us anti-union bullshit. I guess we know which side you’re on, comrade.

          • Bill 1.1.1.1.1

            Yeah trp, I could sensibly argue that a union official is not elected, and is therefore essentially in a similar position and role as the state officials you mention.

            But much as I might enjoy any back and forth on such a debate or exchange, and much as I could dig through examples of union officials “cutting deals” to underscore the point, it would all be at a tangent to this post – that I’d much rather stayed focused on supporting nurses, aye?

            • te reo putake 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Some union officials are elected, some are appointed. Mostly appointed these days because it’s a professional job and the days of Muggin’s Turn or Jobs for the Boys are long gone.

              What I do know from studying the structures of various unions and similar voluntary organisations here and overseas (yeah, I know I should get out more) is that elected officials tend to do a wonderful job … in election year. Appointed officials tend to be objective and professional, more capable of telling it like it is, rather than rabble rousing for effect.

              The key question for unions and other subscription based organisations is governance. There has to be a clear separation between the board or executive and the paid staff. The NZNO is a great example of how to do it right, which, as I pointed out earlier, is why those who voted Yes accepted the result. If that had been many other work places, the strike would have fallen flat, with half in, half out.

              Anyway, interesting post, Bill. No union is so good it can’t be challenged to improve.

          • adam 1.1.1.1.2

            Arguing with you is always the same te reo putake, you make up shit, then lie about what the person is saying.

            What anti-union stuff? You know there are different ways for unions to organise, not just the type you support. So get it right, am I opposed to the current trade union model, hell yeah – full of careerist types, living of the back of ordinary working folk.

            Is there a better way of doing it. Again, Hell Yes, and there is more than one option in that regard too.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.1.1.1.2.1

              I’ve often wondered why unions don’t modernise and offer the benefits of association others get from voluntarily joining organisations. Think th AA or fly buys.

              Not only bargain for higher wages but bring in money to fund the organisation by leverage the extreme buying power of its members. 20% off at foodstuffs? Access to lawyers on issues not based around employment? Fuel discounts as per the supermarket voucher model? Hell, set up a rival to southern cross for at cost medical care.

              Reduce the onus on the members to pay dues for only one reason.

              It’s be the largest purchasing group in the country and companies would finance it, not the workers. Run it as a charitable trust and provide entry level employment opportunities in skills big business is looking for and not taught in schools.

              Beat the system by acing it’s on processes

      • Craig GlenEden 1.1.2

        Cee Payne dosnt lead the NZ Nurses Organisation. The Current CEO is Memo Musa.

  2. The Chairman 2

    A couple of additional factors to consider.

    Some point to nursing being a largely female dominated profession as one reason for their wages failing to keep up.

    Businesses are concerned large public sector wage increases will drive up private sector wage demand.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Nurses, like caregivers, and others in the business of ensuring our wellbeing should be looked up to and rewarded well for their work – not subjected to business and government taking advantage of their better nature to diminish their work conditions.

    People who work in our health system should not have to worry about putting food on their table or having a roof over their head. That should be true of all our important services – in other words, everyone who works for government.

    Instead we’ve been taught that government is useless and should be paid less to do what we choose not to.

  4. marty mars 4

    I agree with this post bill and I’d just say that the union is not to blame for anything. They are doing their best and after so many years of neglect for nurses pay the battle is uphill. They are not the enemy they are friends and so so needed. No need for union bashing please. And also the union REPRESENTS members – they negotiate for and advise back to members. The members decide. The union knows this, they care – that is why they are representing their members. And they can advise. These positions are not mutually exclusive imo.
    There is money there. Pay up.

    • Bill 4.1

      I’m not “union bashing” marty.

      The link in the post is to a piece written by Siobhan Lehnhard. On one of my facebook feeds, she has the following to say in response to someone responding to a third person’s claim that they (the nurses) have been sold out.

      …I’m interested that you claim being sold out, do the rank and file not get to ratify or reject any offer?

      Siobhan – We absolutely do get to vote on the offer. However before we can vote a week from now our union has gone around publicly (on social media and all over the news) telling everyone how great this deal is and that we should accept it. They did not seek member input prior to doing this. I don’t see any argument for how this is strategically beneficial to us as members. So if we vote no we will once again be at odds with our own union. This is not a tenable position to be in for people trying to improve their bargaining power.

      I’d link to that whole thread, but don’t know how to without putting access to my fb out there.

      Suffice to say, that reading some of the comments in conjunction with my own direct experiences of union officials selling members short… 🙁

      • marty mars 4.1.1

        Thanks for clarifying.

        You say at the end you have experiences of union people selling members short – isn’t that true of everything and isn’t it a bit like a swallow and summer as in one doesnt make or – that one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch?. For me I’m union 100%. Sure some individuals abuse the trust but the reason unions exist is the important bit.

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          Union officials marty, not elected reps or union “people” – bar those who are persuaded to be “pragmatic” by said officials. And much as I wish I could say it’s a rare occurrence, the truth of the matter is, that in my experience it’s been kinda common for officials to “lean” on delegates.

          • marty mars 4.1.1.1.1

            Okay thanks again.

          • Cricklewood 4.1.1.1.2

            I can relate, many moons ago I was leaned on as a young delegate to accept and support a settlement the official had negotiated with managment. It meant a pay cut for 3 long serving staff (30yrs plus) and a very small increase for the rest.
            I spoke against, the deal was voted on and passed. The effected staff were bullied into taking their pay cut.

            I quit as delegate, and canceled my membership alongside a guys who had paid dues for decades.

            It was an offer that should never have got to the floor, it was a classic divide and rule move that should have been seen for what it was.

  5. Herodotus 5

    For me Nursing & teaching are considered by many of those within the “professions” as their work is a “calling” or “vocation”. And as such were willing to fulfil the needs of those they were looking after ahead of what you could consider “Market remuneration”.
    In the past, it was accepted in a traditional concept: that the Male was the primary earner and a nurse/teachers salary was additional as well as very rewarding to those within the sectors. Today we have had huge living cost increases, housing, social etc. and we arrive to today, whereby 2 considerable incomes are not enough to live on.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12035433
    And we have succession of govts actions now feeding into what we have today.
    All support to the nurses, if they don’t succeed what for the rest of us ?

  6. SaveNZ 6

    I think the nurses are worth a lot more, in particular if they work in Auckland with massive expenses to contend with. I also think the starting salary for a nurse circa $26 p/h after a 3 year degree is too low.

    This is what the government has to grapple with when left with the Natz legacy, or has in the past via Rogernnomics championed a low waged high expense economy which has business as the kingmakers not people’s welfare, in any decision and also created a system where business has little to zero responsibility and can just fold and start up the next day, leaving massive debts on to it’s subcontractors and workers or not have any responsibility for repairs and damages for poor decisions.

    On top of this to create the appearance of a vibrant economy the powers that be have created a Ponzi scheme on housing and immigration (which workers get hit by) and also the creation of fake and poor degrees meaning that we are now getting the lowest qualified residents than even 5 years ago and an exploitative culture for jobs which long term is going to be very expensive with so many people needing top up welfare and not paying any taxes in real terms.

    Government have this low wage high expenses economy, to address after 9 years of Natz, not sure how they will do as they increasingly seem to be going towards a more Rogernomic Nat Lite approach on some issues. Hopefully wrong about this.

    Was just at the hospital the other day, and got stung $9 for parking, that is the Auckland way, sad that there is someone in private practice is making a dollar everywhere from people suffering.

    P.S. Apart from tweaks of Rogernomics and the Natz reign of terror, our health professionals are fantastic – I thank the strong unions in this area have helped. The unions and nurses might be disagreeing now, but the union has kept the medical professionals and hospitals as A+ regulated professionals unlike where deregulation has decimated the industry like construction and trucking and the victims have to pick up the pieces with leaky and poorly constructed or resource consented buildings!

    • Dukeofurl 6.1

      Stung for parking?
      No it’s not a private company , they are just an operator. The dhb isn’t funded to build car parking buildings, so they borrow money to build them. Unless you want them to take money for patient care to fund your convience. Your car cost $ 000’s per year to run $9 is nothing, suck it up

      • Andrea 6.1.1

        “Your car cost $ 000’s per year to run $9 is nothing, suck it up”

        Well, no, to the ‘suck it up’ comment.

        Neither of us has any notion of SaveNZ’s circumstances. Or the reason for the hospital visit. Or how many visits will be required, either.

        Nor do we know how easy it is for SaveNZ to access public transport from where they live – or even if they are able to get on board.

        Imagine an adapted mobility vehicle and someone on a benefit: does $9 still seem reasonable to you? Perhaps it does.

        To me that fee tells of a total failure by the council and government to make hospitals as easy, safe and cheap to visit, whether as a client or a support person, or even a worker, as they can possibly manage. Otherwise people simply can’t go.
        Suck it up? Or fix it up?

        • dukeofurl 6.1.1.1

          he said it cost $9 bucks. ( not 10 x$9) This story isnt about his circumstances. The bus routes run past the front door anyway

          My point is the money isnt coming from the government for parking buildings, so unless they take it from patients and yes staff wages ( maybe not doctors and nurses) it MUST come from those who use the convenience of a parking building.

          You dont seem to realise that there isnt funding even for all those whos need for operations is quite high, and here you are blowing the trumpet for some thing way way down the list of priorities.
          To me the staff and patients are the important discussion, parking concerns are for those without more important things to do.

          • SaveNZ 6.1.1.1.1

            Clearly you are in denial about the state of public transport in Auckland, how difficult it is to get around if you are able bodied, let alone if you are injured or disabled, and the cost of the public transport as well!

            If hospital parking was a few $$ that would be ok, it isn’t – it is a rip off – allowing companies to rout sick people and their visitors is not OK in my book and part of a wider problem of having a sticker sign of ‘free hospitals’ but actually allowing private companies to profit off those people.

            Likewise schools are free, but actually you have to pay hundreds of dollars in donations and activity fees..

            It is market forces by stealth.

            If you are unemployed or tight of money having to pay $9 for a couple of hours and it is constant due to the nature of injury or disablement, then a lot of sick people fall on hard times and that becomes yet another stressor!

            Also know of someone who was recommended by the hospital to have their child stay in Starship overnight, they didn’t because of the cost of the parking.

            Increasingly people are forced to ‘live within their means’, not being able to stay in hospital or attend appointments or choosing not too, because of outrageous parking costs, should not be part of our health care system.

            • SaveNZ 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Just looked up my ‘public transport’ options both required substantial walking distances and cost more than parking there. With the Starship incident, was late at night, no public transport options.

              Dukeofurl, you clearly live in an alternate reality world, where sick and injured people are hopping and skipping for hours to make the public transport links viable and only get sick during the day.

              Also in your reality sick people seem to have plenty of money to pay for the cost of the public transport and travel by themselves while sick and injured, without any support people or dependants (doubling/tripling/etc the cost of public transport) and have plenty of time on their hands as well.

              They are also happy to sacrifice getting well, or in the case of infection or being susceptible to it (aka after Cancer treatments) spreading infection around the public or being exposed to increased infection risk yourself, while taking 2 to 5 times longer to get there, possibly missing or delaying your appointment if anything goes wrong, and wrecking the scheduling of the hospital.

              • dukeofurl

                Its you that have an alternate reality
                ‘ both required substantial walking distances and cost more than parking there”
                Cost more than the parking ? So why the military grade moaning when there is bigger issues than your lifes little trivia

                • SaveNZ

                  Yep, people like you, aka right winger/whingers stalking centre left sites in case some action might be taken against the neoliberal profiteer’s running this planet.

                  .. and this is the sort of corporation we are talking about (Wilson’s Link below) also mentioned in Panama papers and do the detention centers in Nauru…

                  So parking routing is not just local, it is the lazy neoliberal practise of allowing routing, an increasingly international practise in the west (but owned by billionaires east in many cases) as neoliberal policy suck more and more wealth transfer from ordinary folks to handfuls of individuals hiding behind corporations.

                  Wilson Parking’s tax numbers appear to defy economic reality
                  https://www.smh.com.au/business/wilson-parkings-tax-numbers-appear-to-defy-economic-reality-20160408-go1w4u.html

                  • SaveNZ

                    Also the DHB’s need to update their site parking charges because parking appears to have gone up about 28% since they put the page together in 2016 or companies running it, are overcharging people….

                    I wonder how many nurses and doctors have enjoyed a 28% pay rise since 2016…

                    Also the nurses are expected to pay for their parking too, so have had to adopt many strategies to pay this on their meagre wages.

                  • cleangreen

                    saveNZ Yes they are sso bioring aren’t they,

                    These right wing trolls do bore me so much but there is an upside to their outcry’s.

                    They must be getting frustrated after the labour/coalition are passing more and more revisions of their old tired tory ruules that are going into the dustbin so all those changes national made are beung canned and we hope they feel so bad about that as we felt when they rolled all labour’s policies and dumped them when they were in government.

                    • SaveNZ

                      Yep, have to wonder when in an entire post about nurses they only thing they find to comment about is to defend how billionaire parking companies should be able to charge sick, disabled, medical staff and others, outrageous parking fees!

                      What does this say about this person’s mentality and what their world views and priorities are on serious issues?

                      Aka Dukeofurl doesn’t seem to care about the nurses or any issue apart from outrage that someone questions, yet another way questionable private companies fleece people at a difficult time, via hospital parking fees?

                      BTW that’s could be up to $35,000 a year from one parking space approx 30m2 and they employ one person over entire hundreds of parks.

                      But to Dukeofurl that is his main mission on the post to defend the practise!

          • Molly 6.1.1.1.2

            If you are talking about the parking in Auckland hospitals, I think you will find that the government did (and perhaps still) owns the parking lots and buildings, however they have handed the management of them over to a private business.

            I recall the process happening in Auckland Hospital when nurses lost their parking spaces, and were offered more reasonably priced parking down in Grafton rather than the suddenly elevated prices near the hospital. However, the management retained their reserved spaces even though public transport and hours of work meant they had more available options than nurses working late hours and having to walk alone to a dark carpark.

            I’d be surprised if the land ownership was transferred completely, but if so that is a problem.

            Also, given the low staffing levels, visiting friends and family often pick up the slack and raise the standard of care received by their loved ones in hospital. This has been going on for a while. Access to discounted parking is sometimes available but not universally offered for visitors of long-term patients. So the issue of cost for visitors is relevant, not just in regards to individual transport costs but in terms of offsetting failures in the standard of care of patients.

            • Incognito 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Cancer patients can get support to get to and from cancer-related appointments and this is a wonderful service but paid for by donations to a charity, for example:

              https://auckland-northland.cancernz.org.nz/how-we-can-help/want-support/getting-to-treatment/

            • Grafton Gully 6.1.1.1.2.2

              “management retained their reserved spaces even though public transport and hours of work meant they had more available options than nurses working late hours and having to walk alone to a dark carpark.”

              ADHB is a hierarchy of power centres. Management have the most power and nurses are down there with clinical support people like laboratory workers and radiographers. The HR people are into everything and are feared by all. You can get into management from one of the less powerful groups by collaborating with them and applying for management positions,

            • Richard Christie 6.1.1.1.2.3

              In addition, many hospital car parks [e.g. Greenlane Clinical Centre and elsewhere] were constructed many decades ago. It’s not as if these require new funding to set up.
              Management deals by parasites like Wilsons cream off profits wholly disproportionate to their investment and level of service.
              And the DHBs take a share of the clip on the ticket . All is in conformity with the neoliberal model.

  7. Peter Piper 7

    Blaming the National Party is a complete diversion. If the Nurses had a problem with their rates of pay during Nationals time in government they had the same avenue of redress as they do today, striking. Instead, the Nurses unions have ignored the issues for the previous nine years and now expect Labour to wave a magic wand and make it all better. Nurses would have been far better served to ensure their concerns were addressed early and frequently.

    It’s not helped however that Labour has thrown money around left and right on bribes for Students, The Pacific Islands, Forestry, Horse Racing and the Military etc and now attempt to plead poverty.

    • Pat 7.1

      it may be worth considering that some of those ‘bribes’ will be reducing costs to all nursing students from now on

    • Anne 7.2

      Actually PP all of those areas were badly neglected by the previous government and did need a helping hand with the exception of Horse Racing and we all know why that was included. The military for example is going to become a vital tool in saving lives both in the Pacific as well as NZ in the near future. With the effects of Climate Change ratcheting up at an alarming scale their personnel and equipment (eg reliable Orions and Hercs) are going to be sorely needed.

    • cleangreen 7.3

      Wrong Peter the piper,

      National sent out a directive to all Government Agencies to cut expendatures and made them all produce a bussiness case and financial report which national then used to slash all costs and expendatures for all departments, so it was a form of Austrerity but they never mentioned the word “austerity” then or ever so they were conducting diversion first way back when.

      You are simply wrong.

  8. Pat 8

    As with any grouping it is rare to achieve a unanimous view….especially among a group of 8000 plus and with different work/life experiences.

    My experience of Union negotiators was always that they were relied upon for their judgement and if they came back with a recommendation to accept it was their judgement that nothing more was likely to be achieved at that point….you can question their judgement (and we often did) but the reality is that if you arnt in the room you have no real way of knowing….so its a personal decision based on trust and circumstance….and at least this one dosnt appear to carry the additional pressure of a public expression of that.

  9. gsays 9

    Excellent post, Bill.

    As I have said earlier, one if the main sticking points has been getting the DHBs to agree to increasing the workforce by an extra 1500 nurses.

    The union does seem to have gone off half cocked in earlier negotiations.

  10. Adrian Thornton 10

    Good price Bill, thanks.
    I do think that your analogy of “Place a nurse next to factory worker, next to a bureaucratic functionary” is a bit off the mark though.

    I personally know and talk to many low wage workers who work in supermarkets, orchards, pack houses etc, and are being absolutely fucked over as far as wages/hours and conditions go ( as we all know).
    Most, who are unskilled, know they have few other options, and a week or two without wages would put most of them in serious shit, so like the nurses just have to suck it up.

    Unfortunately unions in the orchard industry is pretty much nonexistent as far as I know or seen/heard.

    • Bill 10.1

      I do think that your analogy of “Place a nurse next to factory worker, next to a bureaucratic functionary” is a bit off the mark though.

      Throw it around the other way then. Instead of decreasing income until the person quits, offer them increasing amounts in lieu of working and see when they quit. I think the same point about dedication and motivation would come through in that scenario too (imperfectly 😉 )

      • Adrian Thornton 10.1.1

        Even if you are right, I guess my real point is that I don’t see any advantage to comparing workers in that way.

  11. Anne 11

    …a nurse, like others in similar professions, will suck it up for quite a while, because they have a passion for doing what they do – they are motivated by things beyond fear of abject poverty (the factory worker) or simply maintaining some modicum of middle class comfort (the bureaucratic functionary).

    You’ve got your rose tinted glasses on there Bill.

    Sure, there are plenty of nurses who fall into that category. My most admired friend going all the way back to school days was one of them. I have been closely related to nurses over the years and I can tell you they entered the profession for a variety of reasons. Some liked the prestige associated with nursing, some saw it as a stepping stone to other occupations (vis a vis the prestige label), some were wanting to have a universal skill they could fall back on when travelling overseas and some were looking for a doctor husband. Not saying there’s anything wrong with the above, but it is also well known the Health profession together with the Education and Law & Order vocations are a magnet for control freaks and sociopaths – the two go together.

    To suggest as you have done they all go nursing because they are motivated by a selfless desire to succour the ailing is unrealistic in my experience.

    • Bill 11.1

      Health profession […] vocations are a magnet for control freaks and sociopaths…

      Hmm. Nurse Ratched types aside then… Did you just out-cynical me there Anne?!

      • Pat 11.1.1

        lol..yep

      • Anne 11.1.2

        No I’m not being cynical Bill – scratches head.

        There has been plenty of research done on the subject of sociopaths and in what professions they are most prevalent. Health is at the top end of the scale. Don’t get me wrong, most nurses are excellent people but I do wonder sometimes about the possibility they are being led by one or two behind the scenes who are perhaps not so excellent in character. Boy, I’ve seen it in the past inside the Public Service.

        There seems to be a slightly hysterical element to this debate [as far as I can tell you’re not one of the culprits] where a negative suggestion is judged as being “anti-nurses” or in some cases “hate speech”.

        There’s always more than one side to an argument and to greet every endeavour ‘the other side’ makes to resolve the issue is stupid.

        • Anne 11.1.2.1

          The last sentence should read;

          There’s always more than one side to an argument, and to scoff at every suggestion the other side comes up with is self defeating and stupid.

        • Pat 11.1.2.2

          you may not see it as cynical but your description…”and I can tell you they entered the profession for a variety of reasons. Some liked the prestige associated with nursing, some saw it as a stepping stone to other occupations (vis a vis the prestige label), some were wanting to have a universal skill they could fall back on when travelling overseas and some were looking for a doctor husband. Not saying there’s anything wrong with the above,” covers a high proportion of the nurses i know and have known. …and on occasion have worked with.

          Anyone who dosnt recognise the breadth of motivations for engaging in any occupation and seeks to apportion some form of default canon is frankly delusional…or thinks everyone else is.

          • Anne 11.1.2.2.1

            Too many people here including you are misrepresenting my intentions.

            I was a ‘specialist’ nurse in a previous life and it helped me to acquire other skills totally unrelated to my initial career. <b< So I did it too. To turn nurses into angels and saints is pathetic because they are no more saint-like than the rest of us. At the same time everyone seems to want to deride every mortal attempt by the DHBs – and the minister (who I happen to know is a thoroughly honorable person) – to satisfactorily resolve the issue and that is equally as pathetic.

            My humble apologies for daring to try and bring a bit of needed balance to the table. I’m butting out. Have a nice night.

            • WILD KATIPO 11.1.2.2.1.1

              Anne , fair cop comments.

              I had a son as many already know who died from cancer ( ALL ) in 2005 because of related complications

              Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ …
              https://www.cancer.gov/types/leukemia/patient/child-all-treatment-pdq

              But it wasn’t the cancer that killed him. It was this instead:

              Pneumocystis Carinii – Medical Microbiology – NCBI Bookshelf
              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8137/

              A commonly found microorganism that , typically caused premature deaths in the 1980’s of AIDS patients. It mimics common illnesses. However my son was continuously misdiagnosed at Waikato Hospital. And the justifications of the TEMPORARY locums were ridiculous to say the least. They were out of their depths , not Oncology Specialists and obv had not bothered to read Jacks medical notes from Starship.

              Lazy slack bastards .

              And it cost my son his life.

              For 6 weeks he was presenting with a type of ‘whooping cough ‘ sound when he lay in bed trying to get to sleep.The Waikato staff fobbed us off citing Asthma, Upper respiratory tract infection and the like and labelled both him ( an 11 year old boy ! ) and his mother as ‘non – compliant’.

              He was lifting sheep over a fence with me 6 weeks before he died. He was a big strapping boy for his age . Probably due to his Dutch mothers side. I overruled both his mother and the medical staff at Waikato when she had asked for me to come over ,… and demanded they ( Hospital staff ) do something at 13.00 hours . Within one hour we were on our way in an ambulance to Starship.

              I was in no mood to fuck around with niceties.

              He died in PIKU 6 weeks later with complications that were described as ‘ lung tissue so scarred that it was like trying to breathe through concrete ‘. He had tubes and masks and the whole deal . He was 11 years old, 11 months.

              And he dies in dignity and advised various of us to do certain things. For me it was to ‘ give up smoking and get back to church’ , – because he said ”Look at me – I’ve never smoked but I am dying ”.

              From out of the mouths of babes.

              The truth.

              He woke up the next morning after he was expected to die and said ”I’m still here , – I’m still alive !!!” .

              His last meal was a mince pie and chicken McNuggets.

              The South African senior doctor at Starship was brilliant. But there was nothing they could do. At the critical time when all this was happening the chief Oncologist was on holiday overseas, only getting back in time when it was too late. He was personally present when Jack Hendrick died. I cannot give enough credit to this man.

              Yet Jack Hendrick was their pin up poster boy for survival up til that time. We kept him on a 1930’s dietary program that seemed to work. Consisted of much cruciferous vegetables/ Mediterranean type of foods…. , there were even lollies that were extracts from the same. He had cancer for 8 years out of his almost 12 years of life. Yet he was strong , tall… robust.

              I had done a diploma in science / technology – specifically with Microbiology in mind because of this at the time. I am still in debt because of it till this day. ( Ever seen those Vietnam vets who become society’s losers?… I can understand why they are like they are… ) .

              But my point is this, Anne. You raised good points. The heath profession are comprised of those who are only human. And just as prone to ulterior motives as the next person. And despite the fact that I took Jack Hendricks case to the Health and Disability Commissioner , – and that Ron Patterson turned out to be nothing more than an apologist for right wing neo liberal genocidal fiscal policys , – there are many who , … involved as they are in the medical profession … are of sterling character.

              And if,… I was a military man,… I could not speak too highly if them and their efforts.

              Cuba apparently , that long time arch enemy of the United States,..has long been known to be first to flood a country with medics in a natural disaster.

              I believe,… if we are to have a world class health system – then we should bloody well not spare the horses in plying them with all the funding and wages increases that they need to be an efficient, crack body of people who are released from the petty neo liberal financial restraints of the last 34 years to administer what amounts to that same world class recognition that NZ was once known for.

              And if that had been the case?… I have no doubt my son could quite possibly have been alive today.

              It took myself, my own ageing mother and my sister who was a nurse all her life to spend more than a year to put together a case to present to the Heath and Disability Commissioner Ron Patterson.

              And a further year or so of reading all the whitewashed letters and excuses from them regarding foreign temporary locums, foreign born medical ‘ practitioners’ … and all the other excuses for why NZ born medical staff had left NZ in the 1980’s and 1990’s for Australia ,… and in the end?

              They pinned the blame on some nurse with an Indian name… complete with a tear jerking ‘I’m so sorry ‘ letter.

              Yeah fucking right.

              The last letters I considered such a sham I didn’t even bother opening them. And still haven’t to this day. And believe me- I still have all Jack Hendricks medical notes, the odious ones from Patterson, and Jacks X rays. Everything.

              • I watched ‘All quiet on the western front’ last night.

                I was in tears ,… all these wonderful young men sent to their deaths by manipulators… it was the earlier ‘ Saving Private Ryan’.

                All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) – Fatal distraction! – YouTube
                Video for all quiet on the western front pauls teacher you tube▶ 6:01

                We have been played royally by the neo liberals and their shit fuck genocidal bitch ideology.

                For that I have no mercy on them.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                I stood in A&E at Waikato Hospital in the very early hours of the morning some years ago with my man in the full throes of this…https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/hypertension-autonomic-dysreflexia … particularly nasty condition. We were 99.9% sure what the cause was and the treatment was immediate catheterisation. In charge doctor knew nothing about spinal injuries and and refused to do the catheterisation as it was an invasive procedure. And the machine that measured the volume of fluid in the bladder read 000mls…for my man AND the 80 year old fella across the room who hadn’t peed for two days and was in agony. ” The machine backs me up” said idiot MD. Closer inspection of said machine by stroppy me revealed a maintenance record card saying DON’T USE ALWAYS READS ZERO. Second machine read 999mls for both patients. Peter could have died. And not for the first time. The nurse on duty was brilliant. As far as she was allowed to be in the shade of fuckwit doctor who was god almighty. Then we ended up in the hands of A Particular Department which will remain unnamed…and further attempts were made to endanger life through arrogance and incompetence…

                We ended up in A&E in Christchurch with the same hideous condition in late 2008, and found a nurse who knew her stuff and accurately diagnosed in triage, and the doctor in resus who didn’t know shit, BUT, had the brains and the humility to ask the nurse who did. Result…the AD resolved promptly, the doctor learned something new and Rosemary sat in the toilet when the drama had eased and cried tears of sheer fucking relief that I hadn’t had to reprise my role of Arch Bitch.

                There were further visits to Waikato and 11 days of IV antibiotics (admissions, but escaping at first possible convenience as playing the ‘do we have the criminally negligent nurse on today?’ lottery lost its appeal very quickly.)
                There was the odd seriously GOOD nurse though. And these were the one’s whose eye we could catch across the A&E to silently beg her to come and change the iv luer because she could do it without poking around like a virgin on his wedding night. Then there was the nurse who completely understood why we didn’t want to spend a second longer than we had to on a ward and organised things so Peter could be an admitted patient but go out for extended leave returning when his next dose was due.

                Then there was the nurse who cheerfully told me pressure sores were par for the course on that ward when I asked for pressure relieving material for Peter’s hospital bed. And the one who pumped the bed to the highest level, lowered both bed rails and left the room. One of Peter’s newly plastered legs was hanging over the side when I arrived on the ward at 7am with the youngest child in tow. Charge nurse simply didn’t get it when I demanded she ring an ambulance to transport Peter and his not yet dry casts home. Then there was the nurse who treated me like an incompetent because I was not 100% comfortable performing a particular procedure on Peter….and she wrote as much in Peter’s notes (when we obtained them). The specialist from the spinal unit had a fit when he heard we had been made to do that procedure on someone of Peter’s level of injury. Likewise the charge nurse of a Particular Ward (not the one up the page) who took the pip, like seriously, when I phoned her to discuss Peter’s requirements for his bed after he had had surgery. I was polite, and was letting her know we would be bringing our own pressure relieving stuff and that I would be making the bed up myself. No bullshit…she refused point blank to even speak with either of us despite Peter having to be on that ward (as an ambulatory (albeit in his wheelchair) patient) for three whole painful weeks.
                Sometimes we feel guilty that we have never, despite due cause, made a complaint to the Health and Disability Commission. Theoretically, complaints and ensuing investigations are supposed to add to the process of improving health and disability outcomes. Make everyone safe and enhance professional development and best practice.
                I have read dozens of H&D decisions. Our near death experiences pale into insignificance. Complaints can take years to wend through the system and often the outcome is less than satisfactory.

                (A note about Ron Patterson. He wrote this in 2015. https://www.hqsc.govt.nz/assets/General-PR-files-images/atul-gawande-forum/ron-paterson-Jun-2015.pdf

                He had a life changing experience, almost first hand, with the health system. An epiphany. Well worth the read.)

                We too have files…stacks of paperwork…complaints made at the local level that have resulted in managers simply silently staring at us when we asked them to explain particular stuff ups. You can’t do much with someone who just stares silently at you. Much of it is now packed away in plastic crates. One step removed from in our face. Peter’s in remission from leukaemia and we’ve better things to do. We have our court case against the MOH early next year so we need to build our strength.

                And pay the nurses more? Yes. Because the good ones deserve it and hopefully, over time, professional standards will improve to the extent that the crap ones will be railroaded out of the job.

                Jack sounds like a son to be proud of WK. I hear your anger and feel the love you have for him. Living, and living well by the sound of it, with ALL for eight years is a testament to his fortitude and his family’s dedicated care. Peace to you and yours.

                • SaveNZ

                  @Rosemary. This shows just how important it is for the individual nurse to be as highly skilled and empathetic as possible… we really need to attract quality nurses into the field and also not lose them due to unfair wages that are stagnating over time or totally out of whack with the day to day cost of living.

                  As for health and disability – do not have anything good to say about them, they have become a long process with little outcome and their pitiful but lengthy “investigation” seems more like a paper exercise than a help to improve outcomes.

                • Richard Christie

                  Well, since we are doing anecdotes.

                  Of the total of 3 months recently in Auckland Hospitals which included three weeks in ICU following double lung transplant I found all staff, at every level, absolutely brilliant, bar one nurse on one night-shift in ICU and one stressed and overworked phlebotomist.

                  Overwhelmingly, these people are fantastic. They are also human.

                  I read and watch (Youtube) the shit people in the USA go through getting treatment in similar situations due to their brutal privatised healthcare model. I’m so thankful that I live here.

                  So thankful the neolibs haven’t yet succeeded in trashing our system.

              • cleangreen

                Wild Katipo,

                I am so very sorry to hear that your son died in a cruel maanner when the government was waching their pocket book rather than resuing our sick and dyinng.

                I was checally piosoned while working and supporting my famkily while overease and after 25yrs am still being ignored by the government (especially the ministry of health) about the lack of any meningful medical treatments for my chemical poisoning still that plauges me today as i live in a “safe and self imposed reclusive environment which is a place far away from the everyday chemical exposures everyone today’ is exposed to”.

                This effectively keeps me a prisoner far away from my childen both who miss me and live withioutn their Dad and Mum because the medical authorities cannot even recognise my medical illness that I am alone fighting every day to keep me away from developing terminal cancer, so you and I share a very close association with the knowledge leaned that our NZ medical system is very sick and dying at present nowdays.

                You ask; – What is the price of a human life?

                In my experience we when damaged by the systerm become not much worth to the health system so it appears that the ministry of health then regards us as un-worthy for spending any money nor offer much meaningful treatment for our possible recovery,, then are simply leaving us to whither in a dark corner to die.

                This injury has cost me everything I saved in life for my old age which now has been robbed from me.

                Our heartfelt respects to you and your family my comrade.

              • Molly

                Thank you for sharing your family’s story, and telling us a small part of what your son was like. The grace Jack showed must be a family trait. Hit home a bit harder than normal, as my youngest is the same age as your boy when he died, and to have to deal with losing that boyish rambunctious energy so needlessly, would be immensely hard. I can only say thank you again, and hope that any health professionals reading your comment take note and make any necessary changes to their practices.

              • SaveNZ

                @WILD KATIPO, my sympathies for the death of your son. Very heartbreaking at only 11 years. Also agree that health and disability don’t seem to deliver.

                Your story highlights the need for some DHB’s to meet a higher standard aka Waikato. Starship is always described as brilliant, sounds like that standard “brilliant” needs rolling out, across the country!

                Auckland City hospital is excellent in my view, apart from maternity where they push Mother’s out as soon as possible due to government/DHB ideology.

  12. … ” And while we’re at it, why do all the pom pom wavers for industry wide awards, that come with a ban on strike action, think that’s a way to go? ”…

    Funny that , eh.

    … ” But a nurse, like others in similar professions, will suck it up for quite a while, because they have a passion for doing what they do – they are motivated by things beyond fear of abject poverty (the factory worker) or simply maintaining some modicum of middle class comfort (the bureaucratic functionary) ”…

    The height of ingratitude, really , isn’t it. We all want them on deck when we or our relatives are ill , but not prepared to commit to actually paying them accordingly. Why is that ?

    … ” Way I see it, nursing is one of those occupations where, if nurses pay was doubled, it wouldn’t be too much to be giving them”…

    Which is not far from the truth. There’s 34 years of sleight of hand and graft caused by neo liberalism to catch up on. Lets remind ourselves of the type of people many nurses are. Many were not far from the front lines in world war one and two and many other wars… and many volunteered. They are often the first to endure longer hours in disheartening conditions to ease human suffering. But we see fit to treat them like unskilled workers.

    Btw , my sister was a senior nurse all her life. And she never gets out of that role , either, Heart attacks and the like , elderly cancer patients ,- shes still the unsaid family source of what to do in an emergency and follow up care at home after the doctors and hospitals have done their thing.

  13. R.P Mcmurphy 13

    nationals ran down the health system in yet another stealth attempt to privatise the health system and now the whole thing is buggered sort of. it is not about unions per se but about preserving the integrity of the system. red herrings and flim flam are not good enough here. cut to the chase.

    • Good comments.

      What is the price of a human life?

      Well I do know that back in the 1980’s it was around $ 22, 000.

      How do I know ?…

      Because a friend of my sisters who worked in the road transport sector said so. And he was directly involved in designating safety measures and road improvements and that unless a stretch of road had exceeded that amount nothing was ever done.

      There you go.

      Famously best kept secret’s of the New Zealand state.

      This is how we roll after the 1984 Roger Douglas treason’s and fellow travelers of the Mont Pelerin Society.

      Enjoy.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        What is the price of a human life?

        About $2 million give or take inflation over the last twenty years.

        Yeah, it’s actually possible under capitalism to value a human life. It’s how much that they can produce in that life.

        You’ll note that the majority of people, despite being able to produce more than a few million of wealth, aren’t actually millionaires.

        Famously best kept secret’s of the New Zealand state.

        Of all states. People don’t like the idea that their worth can be measured and they’d like it even less when it’s based upon how much money a capitalist can make out of them while they’re alive.

    • cleangreen 13.2

      R.P Mcmurphy 100%

      Well said; – “It is the putting right that counts”

      Credit to “LV Martin”

      In my life’s experience “it is actions that speak louder than words”; – labour must remember this, – as they chase the re-election in 2020.

  14. Andrea 14

    Which countries will we be robbing to get the extra staff?

    Will there be enough of them to dilute the bullying culture that has been reported?

    Is anyone going to keep up the momentum for nurses to take on more technical work and free up ‘our wonderful doctors’? Or will the closed shops in the medical professions ensure the survival of the pecking order?

    The whole profession needs a good scouring – including the ridiculous hours interns put in – a huge risk to the unwell public. Plus the development of IT systems to reduce admin costs – and get information better shared.

    On the other hand – pass the bedpans and bandaids. We’ll jog on with the corpse of public health for a while longer, I’m sure.

  15. … ‘ The whole profession needs a good scouring – including the ridiculous hours interns put in – a huge risk to the unwell public. Plus the development of IT systems to reduce admin costs – and get information better shared.

    On the other hand – pass the bedpans and bandaids. We’ll jog on with the corpse of public health for a while longer, I’m sure’ …

    ———————————————–

    ^^^^

    THIS.

  16. As to you , Draco , I believe we have common ground, however I believe the root cause is a little more involved, a little more nefarious… and yet the physical manifestations of rooting out these ‘spiritual’ cancers are pretty much the same… think of them in terms of human lice,… parasites,…’leeches’… I’m sure we could draw all too many comparisons ,… however… the eradication process would involve many similar ‘processes’…

    We do not have to tolerate these ideologically sold out , murderous hybrid liars any more. They are a pathogen, much like the rabid dog is.

    Genesis 6 Conspiracy with Gary Wayne on the Awakening … – YouTube
    Video for the genesis 6 conspiracy gary wayne you tube▶ 1:36:26

  17. cleangreen 17

    I must say that the nurses have been extremely great and wanting to offer much more than the DHB could or would offer to help me in my fight to stay alive today but my beef has always been that our NZ Health system has been slowly wound down to a “last resort” for medical treatment today from the “once proud best global practice” it was before i left my NZ shores in 1987 to work in Canada with my wife and family.

    But after being chemically poisoned at a Toronto workplace accident from the six month chemical exposures in Canada, I say that I was offered and received fair medical treatment there afterward.

    The shock came after then when I came home to recover, and found I now have no treatment offered me here from 1998 till now.

    Every treatment I have had since then had been self-funded even though I still continue to be taxed for medical services since 1959 when I began my working life in NZ.

    The government needs to fix this failing medical system and support our wonderful nursing staff.

  18. The Chairman 18

    From the coalface of nursing

  19. cleangreen 19

    CHAIRMAN,

    Yes, and though I pay for my treatments even when I go to a designated’ DHB service provider Clinic’ for my chemical poisoning medical disease, the nurses are not actually trained to carry out either the IV regimine nor understand that is prescribed for me by my professional Medical specialist from Canada and the US prescribe for my medical condition so the whole Mistry of health system has been hollowed out to be just a facade of a claimed medical care system.

    • The Chairman 19.1

      Instead of making weak excuses, this Government should be putting more money on the table to correct our ailing health system.

  20. AsleepWhileWalking 20

    This is disturbing as hell. It gives several (apparently now commonplace) examples of staffing issues.

    Worst of the lot in terms if morale is the nurse stuck with a patient who had assaulted her, but because of policy was unable to restrain the patient. Nobody came to help…

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018655574

    • cleangreen 20.1

      AsleepWhileWalking 100%

      yes; – but this health system declined to just a shell of a once proud ‘global best practice medical care agency’ – way back in late 2008 when the cutbacks first begun..

      I went to the Gisborne hospital in late November in 2008 on friday for an emergency assistance issue and the ‘Emergancy’ turned me away and told me to go to my GP who was in Napier!!!!!!

      I had to go back to the farm 150kms round trip and wait over the weekend untill I could get a Locum doctor three days later.

      That week and the days that followed that day showed me that the medical system had been radically changed since we had not ever been turned away before since 2005 so it was under the national Government the rot began to set in.

      I have a hernia that still has not been repaired nor scheduled for a repair since late 2008.

      No-one can tell me that the health system in NZ is now better than it was back in 1999- 2008 while under the last labour coalition Government.

      We hope that now they will give us back that service we had then.

  21. I have read all the posts above and restrained from commenting, some of your vignettes are moving, some of the posts are pure uninformed rants.
    But consider this story of a new grad I was talking to last night, she is an older woman, took eight years to achieve Registered Nurse status, worked as a senior caregiver, entered a pre nursing course to gain entry qualifications, took her degree and now in her first RN position is dismayed to find she is earning less than when she was caregiving, this offer from the DHB’s will return her to parity with a caregiver, while she will earn more as she moves through the system this demonstrates the inequities in the offer.
    Nurses have recieved 10% in the last 10 years far less than the minimum wage rates have risen, far less than inflation.
    For those who say that we should have struck for better conditions under National consider that our Mecca negotiations coincided with a recession and then the Canterbury earthquakes.

  22. Hongi Ika 22

    We do not have a health system we have a sickness system which is an “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff?”.

    Evidently we have an “obesity crisis here in NZ” which is about to explode, this is mainly caused by poor dietary choices by our lower socio economic groups. Mainly caused by a lack of education and financial constraints ?

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