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Nurses to march on Coast for underfunded health system

EAST Coast nurses and supporters are walking from Tokomaru Bay to Te Puia on Sunday to raise awareness about what they describe as an underfunded health system.

The hikoi is part of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s Shout Out For Health national campaign, during which Gisborne members will seek public support outside PaperPlus in Gladstone Road on Saturday morning.

Christina Couling, of NZNO, said East Coast nurses were skilled health workers.

“Everyone has an important part to play in providing health care but if the funds are not there to make the chain work, then people who provide the care have to provide more with less.

“We want our skills and expertise to be valued and we want to be able to provide our people with high quality, appropriate, accessible and affordable health care near their homes.

“It is impossible to provide this level of care when our health services are underfunded.

“People on the Coast have less access to specialist care and have worse health outcomes than people living in other areas.

“With better funding, our people could have a better chance of surviving if they have conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

“Our area has got incredibly high health needs, but does not have the resource to match.

“As nurses and whanau we will hikoi on Sunday and we want to let the East Coast people know that we care about health.

“We care about how adequate funding can help the welfare of the people.

“It is because of the proverb below that we hikoi to raise this issue to our people.

“Adequate health funding is vital to survive.

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

“What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.”|

SHOUT OUT FOR HEALTH: Treve Swan, Gill Pittar and Josephine Fisher get behind the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation’s Shout Out for Health campaign in the city centre this morning. NZNO is lobbying for better public funding for health services ahead of the general election. Picture by Paul Rickard