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DHB Responds To Nurses Statement On A&E Services

MEDIA RELEASE

20 August 2004

Statement From Carey Virtue, Business Manager For C&C DHB Emergency Service

Capital & Coast DHB is concerned by a statement released by the NZNO regarding staffing levels within its Emergency Department at Wellington Hospital.

Last year, the DHB committed itself to increasing the numbers of staff nurses in the department by five and this was done. Our establishment increased from 31.4 to 36.4 and funds were provided for this number of extra staff.

To suggest that we have failed to respond to the call from the coroner this month to increase our staffing levels is not correct. We raised the establishment number last year and a review of our Emergency Department nursing staffing levels has reinforced the need for this number of nurses.

It has not been easy recruiting nurses to fill all 36.4 positions, and to replace staff as they leave, or go on maternity leave. We have been filling vacancies with a mix of agency staff and staff from our hospital casual nursing pool. We expect to have three recruits arriving shortly and have an ongoing recruitment programme, with further advertisements being placed next week.

We have also increased our establishment level for medical staff and this year will be employing four more consultants, a senior doctor and 0.5 FTE registrar.

We have considered a proposal from nursing staff to an extra nursing position to carry out a specific task. However, that task is already been carried out by our shift coordinators and we have decided, at this time, not to change these roles.

ENDS

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