Saturday, November 27

MIQ for healthcare workers sees a start, but more needs to be done: expert


The government needs to vigorously recruit foreign nurses and pay New Zealand staff to return from abroad, says the Society for Intensive Care.

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Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The government announced yesterday that it will guarantee 300 monthly places in managed isolation for people from the health and disability sectors.

These groups of workers, urgently needed in this country, currently have to compete for the limited spaces of the MIQ with other travelers.

Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society spokesman Andrew Stapleton said Morning report While the announcement is welcome, it is not enough to solve the labor shortage.

“We don’t have a lot of nurses, we don’t have a lot of beds compared to everyone else, that’s well established.”

A growing workforce is being trained if needed, he said.

He said New Zealand typically had world-class results for intensive care, but other jurisdictions that had moved to this style of care had found the result to be half as good.

“You put nurses or anesthesia technicians, or anesthetists next to the bed and you have an ICU nurse who is immediately close to them, but who perhaps supervises an emergency nurse by bed, and she could be supervising (the nurse ICU) two or three beds and, therefore, you increase their ability to care for patients in that way. “

He said that if there were 1000 patients a day, all vaccinated, and three ICU patients a day stayed in the unit for two weeks each, there would be about 42 patients in the Auckland ICU at any one time.

“With the increase in the workforce, with Auckland having around 75 ICU beds, we could cope with that, although it would be very tough work.”

If the 1000 patients were not vaccinated, it would be 30-100 ICU patients per day. “That’s the difference between being vaccinated and not being vaccinated and we couldn’t cope with that.”

He said patients would have to be transported across the country in that scenario, until ICU capacity was shared and every last respirator and member of staff had to be used.

He argues that they need a centralized process that looks at barriers for ICU nurses to enter the country.

“That requires an agency to take control of this issue, advertise, interview, process visas, so that the nurses go through MIQ and arrive in the country.”

He said that although DHBs had permission to hire ICU nurses, they were now competing with each other.

Australia was offering a cash bonus for its own overseas nurses to relocate there, he said.

“I also think there are many nurses abroad who would love the prospect of coming to New Zealand to work, pandemic or not.”

Meanwhile, Aged Care Association CEO Simon Wallace said they were really pleased with the announcement.

“It will make a difference. It should have happened earlier, but bring it up.”

Wallace says there are 350 foreign nurses with job offers in New Zealand who have visas but have not been able to enter.

“If we can bring in those 350 nurses and do it very, very quickly, it will make a big difference in our sector, where we are short of more than 900 nurses.”

He said that, with 40,000 beds, his sector prevented hospitals from overflowing.

“[When] We don’t have nurses, as is the case at the moment, our older residents take hospital beds because we have to close our own beds.

“Having nurses in the care of the elderly is as important as ICU nurses and nurses throughout the system. We are part of the solution here.”

DHBs have actively robbed nursing home nurses, he said.

“And yes, DHBs are funded by the government more to pay their nurses than we are and the impending deal between the government and public hospital nurses will see a difference of up to $ 20,000 between an elderly care nurse and a nurse. in a public hospital.

“That is the heart of the problem and we have to fix it … and immigration is the alternative position.”


www.rnz.co.nz

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