18 Sep 2008

Cunliffe says ministry taking over DHB workforce planning

8:26 pm on 18 September 2008

Nurses are welcoming a plan to put the Health Ministry in charge of workforce planning across the sector.

The Labour Party's Health Minister, David Cunliffe, revealed the Government's intention at a nurses conference in Wellington on Thursday.

He says there's a need for stronger workforce planning and the Ministry will provide it.

Nurses Organisation chief executive Geoff Annals says they've been frustrated over the years at the lack of information about the workforce and the demands it faces.

He welcomed the plan and said it "makes really good sense".

National Party health spokesperson Tony Ryall promised more money for low-paid workers and for hospices but met scepticism with his comments that smarter spending could yield savings in money hungry health.

Greens health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said pay parity for nurses across health is crucial and the Progressive Party's Jim Anderton said debt should be written off for doctors and nurses who stay in New Zealand.