100 life-sized cut-outs of missing health workers will greet Prime Minister Bill English and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman when they visit Dunedin hospital today, says YesWeCare.nz
The short-notice protest will be held from 1030am outside the Psychiatric Services Building on Great King Street.
Hospital staff says they were notified late last night that English and Coleman’s would visit between 1030am to 1130am today.
A separate equal pay event will be held from 11am at the Dunedin Exchange.
YesWeCare.nz coalition coordinator Simon Oosterman says it will include mental health support workers Coleman excluded from the recent historic equal pay settlement.
Oosterman say each cut-out represents 300 staff missing from New Zealand’s health system due to Government underfunding.
“The lack of staffing and resources at Southern DHB is a symptom of the Government’s $2.3b of health underfunding,” he says. “That’s the equivalent of 30,000 missing staff and an immeasurable number of people missing out on the care they need, when they need it.”
Oosterman says funding hasn’t kept up with our ageing and growing population with increased mental health needs.
According to a YesWeCare.nz survey in March, nine in 10 people working in health in Southern DHB felt they didn’t have the staff or resources to provide Kiwis the care they need, when they need it.
“There is nothing more distressing for someone working in health than to see someone they could care for, but can’t, simply due to underfunding,” he says.
|30,000 staff missing:
Allied staff include Social Workers, Psychologists and Scientists.
YesWeCare.nz coalition coordinator Simon Oosterman says a new building is essential but not enough to ensure every patient gets the care they need, when they need it.
“It’s not just the building that is run down, Southern DHB staff are exhausted from understaffing,” he says. “Dunedin patients will still miss out on the care they need, when they need it if we don’t adress Southern DHB’s staffing and workload issues.”
Oosterman says the coalition supports local councellors request for the rebuild to be in central Dunedin, which National won’t commit to.
National is late to the party, with Labour and others calling for an urgent rebuild of Dunedin hospital in March, he says.