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Unions: Patients at risk from underfunding

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/03/2017
Man running down corridor in hospital: File © Thinkstock File

Ninety per cent of health workers taking part in a union survey say there aren't enough staff or resources and it's putting patients at risk.

A coalition of unions, dubbed YesWeCare.nz, says it canvassed 6000 healthcare workers and a majority felt the country's health system couldn't give New Zealanders the healthcare they when they need it.

The majority of respondents said the level of funding was affecting their workload and work pressure, which had worsened over the last five years and that Kiwis' access to health care had decreased over the past five years.

The survey release comes ahead of a roadshow campaign for more health funding which will visit 38 centres this month.

The government spends about $16 billion annually on health care but the Council of Trade Unions estimates the sector is underfunded by more than $1.85b.

It's an issue that's now affecting patient safety, New Zealand Nurses Organisation industrial advisor Lesley Harry says in a statement.

"Poor access to care, care-rationing, health-worker burnout and strained infrastructure are now common.

"The 2016 budget made it clear that the government was not properly assessing current or future funding needs."

The survey of 6000 health workers found:

* 90 per cent believe the health system doesn't have the proper staffing and resourcing

*61 per cent believe New Zealanders access to health care over the last five years has decreased.

*84 per cent believe their workload and work pressures have increased over the last five years.

*82 per cent believe the government's current level of health funding is affecting their workload and work pressure.

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