Nurses' president seeks seat on Bay health body

By Patrick O'Sullivanpatrick osullivan@hbtoday co nz

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The president of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Kerri Nuku, is running for a seat on the Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB).

The mother of six and grandmother of two has 20 years of health sector experience as a registered nurse, midwife and HBDHB manager.

She has dealt with health issues both nationally and internationally and is keen to localise lessons learned "with the voice of the community".

"I have worked at the International Council of Nurses, participating in the steering group around how do we mobilise the workforce to respond to our ageing populations," she said.

"I am very keen on what the future of health will look like, not just from my health workforce perspective but how will it impact on our community.

"We need to step into the future with our eyes wide open.

"What is the environment going to look like? What is our population going to look like?

"How can we make sure that services are going to be accessible for all communities?

She said the indications were Hawke's Bay's population would be increasingly needy, due to the number of people with diseases linked to obesity and ageing above the national average.

Mental health would also present challenges but the biggest challenge was the as-yet-unknown needs of people in a swiftly changing world.

"How accessible will services be and how will the use of technology impact on access? Will we be using more apps to access their primary care and what will that look like?

"We have a lot to get on top of, that's for sure.

"My motivation is to ensure that all communities, including rural, have access to timely, quality health services and promote and invest in our children's future," she said.

She recently made headlines after bringing a case for pay equity, between nurses working for Maori health providers and district health boards to the United Nations.

The 25 per cent pay disparity was presented to a Government select committee in 2008 but the problem remained.

She attended the United Nations Indigenous Permanent Forum in New York where she lodged a formal intervention.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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