ED nurse shortage hits provincial areas

Emergency department’s will continue to be under immense pressure this summer as the health workforce shortage remains, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Every day, our emergency department staff go to work to provide critical services to New Zealanders, knowing that they will be understaffed and over worked.

“Data revealed to National show that as of 2 November 2022, there are over 230 emergency department nurse vacancies across the country, with our provincial areas being hit the hardest.

“Northland is currently 42 per cent short of the 66 emergency department nurses it is meant to have.

“These nursing shortages are also seen in areas like Wairarapa which has a 69 per cent shortage, and Hawkes Bay with a 40 per cent shortage.

“Two or three emergency department nurse vacancies have a big impact on smaller rural emergency departments like Taupo, Taumaranui and Te Kuiti.

“Emergency department wait times are currently the worst on record, with thousands of sick and injured New Zealanders each month leaving without being seen due to wait times, that can sometimes be as long as 24 hours.

“Across the health sector, New Zealand is short over 4,000 nurses. Despite the clear gaps and the tragic consequences of the shortage, the Labour Government and its Health Minster refuses to put incoming migrant nurses on the straight to residency pathway.”