Saturday, December 4

Small moves to reassure healthcare personnel as hospitals prepare for the Covid-19 explosion

Health Minister Andrew Little is assuring the workforce that the government is doing everything it can to prepare for an increase in hospitalizations from Covid-19.

Andrew Little talks to the media about preparing for Covid

Health Minister Andrew Little says preparations for hospitalizations are adequate and health workers need to be sure of it.
Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Little said Morning report The pressure on healthcare workers is always on the mind of the government, and he understands their anxiety with the increasing number of covid cases.

“I understand that there is a lot of anxiety in the nursing workforce, and also in the emergency room and in other parts of the hospitals,” he said.

“Because we are now at that point where things are starting to change, people are concerned about the increasing number of cases.

“In the way this government has handled Covid-19 cases since last year, one of the critical issues we had in mind is the impact on the healthcare system and making sure that the decisions we make and what we do minimize that impact, so we see hospitals overwhelmed. “

Little says the health workforce must be assured that the pressure they are under does not go unnoticed, and the government is working to have the system as ready as possible in case hospitalization rates rise.

He said Morning report that rates were stable for the time being, but that around 14,000 additional nurses had been trained to work in an intensive care unit, and more workers would join the system in about a month after the MIQ wards were booked for them. will enter the country.

More migrant workers will join the system in about a month.

Between 120 and 130 nurses from other parts of the country have also been brought to Auckland since the outbreak began in August.

Middlemore, from Auckland, is forecasting 20 cases a day through his emergency department for the next month.

“Right now, the hospitalization rate is about 5 percent, the ICU rate is between half a percent and 1 percent,” he said.

“That has been a constant for at least a couple of weeks. We know that many people who show up at the hospital are not vaccinated.”

The minister said his daily reports from the Health Ministry indicated that ICU bed capacity hovers around 325 across the system and that the upward trend in the workforce is adequate to deal with rising numbers.

Little added that he was comfortable with the decision announced yesterday to open Auckland secondary schools to seniors, although it could increase the number of cases in the city.

“The age group that will be allowed to return to school can be vaccinated, many are vaccinated and there will still be measures requiring them to wear a mask, to maintain social distancing,” he said.

PPE continues to be a problem for nurses – union

The nurses union said the district health boards are not prepared for the pandemic and that nurses are still struggling to get the proper protective gear.

Yesterday there were 37 people in the hospital with Covid-19, and many more have passed through emergency departments during the outbreak.

Nurses report being stressed and some quit due to pressure.

Kerri Nuku from the Nurses Organization said Morning report there are pockets where resources are easy to come by, but it is unacceptable that access to EPP at this stage of the pandemic is not yet a fact.

She said that for nurses who work in close contact, such as in the ER, N95 masks if worn for a long time can cause complications, such as skin irritations or make asthma worse, but then nurses sometimes have a hard time. to access substitutes.

“Those kinds of restrictions are not the kind of restrictions that should be imposed when working in such a critical area.”

It did not mention the DHBs that were imposing restrictions.

“It varies, it appears from time to time.”

He said it put the nurses under incredible pressure and made them anxious and stressed.

“Covid is on everyone’s mind … We should treat all patients as Covid positive … there is no relief for them when they go home at night … There is no rest for nurses or workers Of the health. “

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