‘One woman waited nine hours in ED’: Organisers hit streets to gather support for nursing cause

June 3, 2021

Hordes of mid-afternoon walkers blasted up and down Willis St, Wellington, but there were clipboards, pens and the nursing kaupapa awaiting their attention.

As NZNO members mulled the latest offer in the District Health Board collective negotiations, organisers Jo Coffey and Penny Clark hit the streets gathering petition signatures and building support for the nursing cause.

Coffey said they aimed to build awareness of a potential strike rally the following week.

“A lot of the people are saying they might come and join us. So it’s creating a little bit more public awareness in Wellington.”

She said many people were saying they had medical conditions and spent “hours and hours” in emergency departments (EDs).

“One young lady was saying she really appreciates the nurses – they know her by name – and she so wants some of the safe staffing issues addressed.”

That woman had once waited nine hours in ED, Coffey said.

The petition called for Health Minister Andrew Little to ensure DHB nurses, midwives and health workers got fair pay and safe conditions.

So far, 14,357 had signed, NZNO campaigns adviser Katy Watabe said.