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NZNO Welcomes Neonatal Unit Report

October 5, 2006

NZNO Welcomes Neonatal Unit Report

The New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation welcomes the release of the report from Capital and Coast District Health Board into the deaths of three premature babies in early 2005 at its neonatal intensive care unit. The recommendations will enhance the DHB’s response to future outbreak management of infectious diseases, it says.

“Neonatal nurses are acutely aware of the need for diligent hygiene but two factors impinged on this aspect of care,” said professional nursing adviser, Susanne Trim. “The unit was under reconstruction at the time, causing additional stress and overcrowding. The report noted there were too few hand-washing facilities available in each room. Environmental factors impinge on a nurse's ability to be able to deliver effective care consistently. “

“A new product, alcohol gels, for hand-washing had been introduced but not fully. The effective introduction of new products and procedures takes time, resources and commitment. Nursing is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service, with approximately half of all staff working part-time. Full introduction of a new product needs to appropriately respond to these factors.”

The Report of the Safe Staffing/Healthy Workplaces Committee of Inquiry, prepared by DHBNZ and NZNO earlier this year, addresses these issues and many others and sets out a plan of action to meet the recommendations for maintaining a healthy workplace which is safe for patients and nurses.


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