The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is disturbed the district heath boards (DHBs) have approached the Employment Court to help resolve a disagreement over providing life preserving services (LPS) during strike action, said NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku.
NZNO Industrial Services Manager Glenda Alexander said NZNO was not aware of any DHB facility that did not have its LPS needs met during the recent 9 June strike.
"We wonder why the DHBs did not approach us to discuss the matter before issuing a media release about their decision to take this action, which seems just another distraction from meaningful negotiations.
"We believe we have met all of our obligations as set out under the Code of Good Faith for the Public Health Sector (the Code) and that we have complied with all agreements reached. We will continue to do so in the future."
Alexander said NZNO and NZNO members have put a massive effort into ensuring life preserving services (LPS) are able to be provided and are gearing up to do the same for the 19 August strike.
"This is an affront to NZNO and its members who have worked constructively at all times with the DHBs to agree how best to provide LPS in each circumstance, and who will continue to do so. Our members have bent over backwards to make sure patients were not harmed as a result of strike action, and the services were certainly provided.
"It does appear, from what the DHBs are now stating publicly that NZNO and the DHBs have a different understanding of the extent of any rights and obligations under the Code in terms of LPS.
"However, NZNO members will not be putting patients and other staff at risk, as is implied by the DHB media release."
Alexander invited the DHBs instead to focus on coming up with an offer centred on guarantees that safe staffing will be in place every day to ensure the future of safe nursing practice is secure. She said she looks forward to negotiations commencing again on Thursday 5 August.