Moves by the Government to increase the number of training placements for nursing graduates will be seen for what they are – a cynical election ploy, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Health Minister Tony Ryall has just announced the Government will fund up to 200 additional training places for nurse graduates next year.
“This comes less than a week after the New Zealand Nurses Organisation launched a petition calling for extra funding for graduates and follows reports that 412 new graduates - more than half the 645 applicants in the latest ACE round - have been unable to find work.
“One nurse who contacted me said that of 40-plus students in her class, just one had received a job offer.
“This problem isn’t new. It has been going on for years, yet it is only now – weeks out from the election – that Mr Ryall has deigned to come up with some sort of solution, however half-baked and short term.
“Health Workforce New Zealand raised the issues around nursing shortages and the loss of many new graduates after they failed to get jobs at least three years ago.
“While today’s announcement is better late than never, it doesn’t go far enough.
“We also need to stem the flow of foreign nurses by removing some categories from Immigration New Zealand’s long term skill shortage list, which will ensure ongoing employment for our new graduates,” Annette King said.