Nurses protest pay, conditions at Middlemore

About 200 nurses have been protesting in the rain at Auckland‘s Middlemore Hospital over pay and work conditions.

Nurses protest at Middlemore Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

About 200 nurses have been protesting in the rain at Auckland‘s Middlemore Hospital over pay and work conditions.

The Nurses Organisation is holding rallies around the country after it rejected an offer of a , with its first rally in Wellington yesterday.

Many of the members were holding placards saying they wanted better pay.

Caroline Donaldson, who works as an emergency department nurse, said nurses are understaffed and underpaid.

“We are stretched to our limits as the population is getting bigger as well – we‘re just working harder and faster,” she said.

“We just need to refocus on nurses and patient care and that way we need [safe] patient ratio.”

“We‘re losing valuable nurses to overseas [jobs].”

Another nurse at the protest, who had just finished her late shift at Middlemore Hospital, said she had worked there for a decade and it‘s become staffing issues had become increasingly worse.

Nurses often had to take on more patients, she said.

“They don‘t replace staff for us when staff call [in] sick and then we have a heavy patient load,” she said.

“It‘s really unsafe for the staff and for the patients.

There will be a second protest outside Middlemore Hospital this afternoon.

The DHB says patient services will not be affected and anyone needing emergency treatment or with an appointment should go to their hospital as normal.