4. New deal recommended to nurses

Health Minister David Clark answers questions following the nurses' strike. Photo: Thomas Coughlan

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation has said it achieved two significant improvements to the DHB's offer and is recommending the new offer to members. Thomas Coughlan reports.

This is the second offer recommended by the NZNO. Nurses rejected the previous offer recommended to them, leading to strike action.

“We are recommending the offer because it retains previously achieved benefits and addresses the ongoing member priorities of greater need for clarity and commitment to safe staffing and also the issue of equity and fairness across the steps,” Associate Industrial Services Manager Glenda Alexander said.

DHB spokesperson Jim Green said the key changes relate to sequencing (including how soon the new pay step becomes effective) and an immediate response to staffing issues. It contains $38 million that DHBs will use to start recruiting new staff immediately.

The new pay step, step seven, will now take effect 12 months after implementation of step six. It becomes effective on May 4 2020.

"DHBs are discussing the funding arrangements for this change with the Ministry of Health," said Green.

There will also be "clearer monitoring and reporting mechanisms" relating to the monitoring of additional nursing staff and enforceable mechanisms for Care Capacity and Demand Management.

It does not appear that the Government has made available any further finance for the deal. It had previously said its $530 million offer was the extent of what it could offer.

On-line voting will take place from midday Tuesday 31 July through to 5pm Monday 6 August.