Nurses’ hunger strike in Wellington: ‘We are ready to die here’
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 7:00a.m.
By Lloyd Burr
Day three has dawned on a group of eight Indian nurses starving themselves in protest of New Zealand’s nursing certificate process.
The nurses, who trained in India, say the New Zealand Nursing Council cheated them out of jobs by no longer recognising their qualifications.
Camping in sleeping bags and ponchos underneath Wellington Railway Station’s Ghandi statue, the group say they are prepared to die for the cause.
“I’m really hungry, I’m really cold,” says Sanil Sahadevah. “But even if we don’t get a solution, we will proceed with this and we are ready to die here.”
Mr Sahadevah says when he arrived in New Zealand last year; his three-year nursing degree could be transferred and certified in New Zealand.
“All of a sudden, they changed their rules and turned them upside down and said we couldn’t work here because it would affect public safety,” he says.
The Nursing Council say they are aware of the hunger strike but will not change the regulations.
“Should we register someone who doesn’t meet the standard to work with the New Zealand public because they are threatening to starve?” says Nursing Council chief executive Carolyn Reid.
“The Nursing Council has made it really clear – don’t come to New Zealand expecting immediate registration because we are the ones who decide the standard.”
The protestors believed they could turn up to New Zealand and start practising because that is what other nurses from India had done.
However Ms Reid says it’s not as simple as that.
“They have come here with expectations that we cannot meet and may not be able to meet. They need to be more patient with the process.”
She says each of their concerns is different so the group cannot be treated as one and although an outcome is on the horizon, it will take time.
But time is something the starving nurses don’t have.
“I think we will die here before we get justice. We have wasted our time, energy and money in New Zealand,” protestor Abin Mathei says.
Watch the video for extended interviews with the protestors
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
14/11/2012 6:46:02 p.m.
I feel that these nurses should have done research before coming to NZ, there are so many new Zealand graduates like my daughter a NZ born who need jobs here in NZ and are reapped of jobs by nurses like the ones protesting. Some of those immigrants hardly speak good english, why dont the New Zealand health sector give the available jobs to NZ graduates likes my daughter who has been looking for a job for the last 5 months with no opportunity given due to her lack of experience, wake up NZ!!!!!!
31/07/2012 11:30:33 p.m.
Sibin Kumar wrote:
How anyone on earth will understand the so called patient safety, when two individuals who has completed same education both in schooling and nursing i.e. everything same in terms of qualifications, training and work experience, one get registration and other denied registration at the racial mentality of some case officer. When developed countries like NZ wants to make money, they take applications and fees from these overseas nurses and once the money is taken from large number of nurses, if they change the criteria, they should have at least refund money. What on earth prohibited NZ nursing council not to accept an application that they thought may cause harm to patient safety. How these diploma nurses having 3.5 years full time study in nursing and has thousands of hours work experiences is practising in all most all developed countries. When these students apply for visa, it is your own government office issue visa. Why do you do that. It is a huge revenue for your government. If all Indian trained nurses working in NZ support these striking nurse, NZ should be aware that your health care system, your patient safety will be a big comedy.
27/07/2012 1:57:23 p.m.
I really empathize with the Indian nurses. Lessen to internationally trained nurses:
1) Don't be fooled by the empty promises and glamorous advertisement of foreign recruiters;
2) Do your own research, call, seek...
3) Every country has a regulatory body that governs nursing practice.
27/07/2012 6:04:11 a.m.
Erana Keating wrote:
The is NZ not India we have rules and standards that are set down to ensure patient safety END of story If they are not prepared to retrain to our standards then don't expect to work here I would be extremly angry if Ior anyone I cared about was treated by a person who didn't meet our standards as for the hunger strike That is their choice but trying to Blackmail NZ into allowing them to practise shows that they shouldn't be working as nurses because they have no respect for NZ or its people
26/07/2012 6:38:33 p.m.
Rachel asks: At a time when NZ is desperately short of qualified nurses, why are we turning them away?
The answer is that they're not qualified.
26/07/2012 2:28:17 p.m.
Wellington Nurse wrote:
You either meet a standard or you dont, these nurses must not have passed a competency assessment programme. Of course we need more nurses in NZ but that shouldn't be at expense of quality of nursing care.
26/07/2012 2:06:01 p.m.
So many sensible comments here Of COURSE NZ Council should change criteria for employment if patients' well being is being compromised And in reply to "what a disgrace just retrain them" - they dont WANT to retrain,they want jobs now.Personally I believe if you emigrate ,you abide by the laws and rules and standards of your chosen country.
26/07/2012 12:44:13 p.m.
I agree with Andrew and John. At a time when NZ is desperately short of qualified nurses, why are we turning them away? By all means require them to pass a test to prove they know what they need to.
26/07/2012 12:27:42 p.m.
While I am sorry for the predicament the Indian nurses find themselves in, I feel they should have done more research before they left India, and not relied on the unconfirmed , word of mouth advice they were given from "friends" prior to leaving India. I am sure the NZ Consulate would have been more than happy to advise them. NZ's priority has to be the up keeping of standards which protect all New Zealanders who have need of medical attention here in NZ and not. To stage a hunger strike is only hurting those involved, and NZ medical council should not have to blackmailed or dictated to. NZ is a wonderful country to live in, but we all need to do what is right and follow the rules and the laws so we can keep it this way.
Id India's health certification is below par, then so be it, but no one has the right to impose their standards on another country. While most people are welcome here, don't expect us to lower our standards to fit in with poor qualifications
26/07/2012 11:59:21 a.m.
Terri Moller wrote:
A hunger strike is a choice. Not an illness. People should be free to make their own choices, as long as they don't affect other people's freedom to choose.
I have 2 points to make - please don't give in and allow anyone with so little respect for life and the miracle of the human body to have the care of sick bodies! And secondly, when they become weaker, please don't use my tax dollars to take away their freedom of choice.
Eventing legend Sir Mark Todd was one of a number of sports ...
Now police in one city have reported dramatic results, slash...
Tourists in Christchurch are being kicked out of the interna...
A man is dead and a woman is critically injured after an inc...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.