PM lauds ‘value’ of healthcare workers
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she experienced firsthand the value of the healthcare workforce during her time in Auckland City Hospital.
Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, welcomed their first child on Thursday afternoon.
The pair yesterday held a brief press conference with their newborn daughter, where they revealed her name: Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford, or Neve Gayford.
The prime minister’s hospital stay comes as nurses and midwives gear up for industrial action.
After two unsuccessful rounds of pay negotiations, the planned strike is due to start at 7am on July 5 and run until 7am on July 6 – unless a consensus between the nurses union and country’s district health boards (DHBS) can be reached.
During the press conference, Ardern was asked about her thoughts on the pending strike, following her hospital stay.
‘‘I think every time I’ve been asked a question about that, I’ve said exactly what I felt, and what I continue to feel, which is the people who work in our public health system are absolutely wonderful,’’ she said.
‘‘We experienced that firsthand, in the middle of the night – multiple times in the middle of the night – and I believed that before and I believe that now.’’
Ardern gave birth in a public hospital, with her midwife Libby. It is understood that she had a private obstetrician.
The prime minister sang the praises of her midwife on Instagram, when she posted a picture of her, Neve and Libby, saying: ‘‘Not only is she incredible at what she does, this morning she made me macaroni and cheese because she heard me mention a wee craving yesterday.
‘‘We need to make sure, in all of the things that we do – whether it’s a pay round or it’s health policy – we need to reflect the value of that workforce. No doubt this adds a special experience to that, though. No doubt.’’
Last-ditch talks between the nurses’ union and DHBS will continue today.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and DHBS’ negotiators attended mediation on Friday after nurses ‘‘strongly rejected’’ the latest DHB offer – a $520 million package described by Health Minister David Clark as the best in a decade.