Nursing feedback sought early July on controversial merger proposal

1 July 2013

The Nursing Council has “reservations” about a proposed merger proposal and is releasing a consultation document in early July seeking nursing and other stakeholder feedback. By FIONA CASSIE

Carolyn Reed, Nursing Council CEO, said obviously the council had “some concerns” with the proposal and these would be highlighted in a consultation document currently being drawn up.

The detailed business case to create a shared services organisation (SSO), including regulatory functions, for the Nursing Council and the 15 other health professional regulatory authorities (RAs) was released in April and discussed at the Council’s June meeting. The business case follows Health Minister Tony Ryall backing a Health Workforce New Zealand proposal for the RAs to partially or fully merge, which has divided the RAs into two camps.

Reed said the Council had received legal advice that it was required to carry out meaningful consultation on the proposal before making a decision.

“It can’t be a Claytons consultation. It needs to be a real consultation where people are given all the information so able to give their feedback.”

She said it had also received a risk assessment on the proposal and that would be included in the consultation document to be released shortly after the Council’s meeting on July 4.

The Nursing Council and five other RAs last year commissioned KPMG consultants to draw up a model for a ‘shared business unit’ to deliver the non-regulatory functions of the six RAs.

At least two of those RAs, the Psychologists Board and the Midwifery Council are also consulting on the SSO proposal.

The Medical Council, which headed the other camp, declined to comment on whether it made a decision at its June meeting or whether it would be consulting on the proposal.

The Psychologists Board has already released its consultation document in which it says its concerns about the SSO proposal included that it was not built on robust evidence, it might lead to processes taking longer, costs could increase, significant risks had not been addressed and the potential loss of relevant profession-specific knowledge.