How Health Ministry Is Buffering Nurse Vacancy Numbers

3700 The number that the establishment of nurses has increased to.
03 Feb 2022 11:26
How Health Ministry Is Buffering Nurse Vacancy Numbers
Health Minister, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

New graduates, rehiring of retired nurses and re-engaging nurses, are how the Health Ministry buffers the nurse vacancy numbers.

This was what the Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said as he confirmed that the establishment of nurses has increased to 3700.

He also said there were close to 300 nurse vacancies in the ministry.

“We also know that we will be receiving 240 nurses soon from graduation, so they will be able to fill those spaces.

“Every year that establishment has always increased. We keep on increasing the number of nurses through the nursing school that are producing graduates, so there is a buffer for them to fill when they come out.

“We also have nurses that have retired and we have re-engaged them and there are nurses that have gone elsewhere that have come back to join us.”

Dr Waqainabete said these were challenging times, not only for nurses, but across the health sector.

He added that in a brief he received six weeks ago for over a period of time in 2021, 25 nurses had resigned.

When queried by the media if nurses had resignation letters stating that resignations were due to fatigue and lack of compensation, he said he was unaware of such cases.

“There hasn’t been a resignation letter that came through to us with that reason, but it was for better opportunities and personal reasons that are written in their letters. We have fully fledged nurses and we also have intern nurses, some of those intern nurses who have been interns for more than a year so they are very capable nurses.

“Because we are able to fill health centres with doctors, we have cut down on the number of nurses in health centres and they are based in bigger hospitals. We have also recruited retired nurses, they come in for certain projects and they support us.”

He added that their decision to leave was theirs and the ministry respected it.

“We will work with the nursing school to encourage training and get into our system the ever increasing nursing establishment that we have.

“The health staff have faced a challenging two years and we have tried to support our staff as much as we can and including just recently we have started asking them to take their leave again.”


Nurses salary

He said it was the FijiFirst Government that had increased the health staff salary.

“The Government has significantly increased the salary of doctors, what the doctors are receiving now is two time more than what they used to receive before 2016.

“We cannot compete with some high-end places our nurses go to, like Dubai, New Zealand and Australia, but we are far better than most Pacific island countries.”

He said with new interns the ministry has more than 1000 doctors.

“We have achieved that not only because we have been able to provide the best training here, it’s because we have also increased salaries over the years.”




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