At least 15 rest homes are rejecting new entrants because migrant nurses who have been hired cannot enter the country.
He says it is a matter of grave concern that the government will not allocate its own administrative isolation and quarantine (MIQ) to healthcare workers, while rooms reserved for key construction workers have become largely unused.
It is estimated that out of 1,000 nursing roles across the country, more than 350 positions have been offered to migrant nurses stranded abroad.
Avatar Institute Training Coordinator Louise Cummings said she had obtained visas and started browsing for flights, but could not find a place at MIQ.
“The bottom line is that we have rest homes all over New Zealand that lack registered nurses. This is a big problem. I have received emails and telephone calls from organizations across the country that are only for registered nurses. Are anxious for, “she said.
Cummings said he regularly sends Section 31 notices to rest homes, warning the Ministry of Health that they have a senior health care assistant, usually through a registered nurse, and that health and safety May be at risk.
Francis Hughes, general manager of nursing and clinical strategy at Oceania Healthcare, which operates more than 40 rest homes across the country, said staff are constantly looking at how to change rosters and change the system.
About 50 to 60 percent of the workforce is migrant labor, he said.
“It may end up that we can’t get the admission we want. We will always make sure our services are safe and that could mean we have [fewer] People in our facilities, “he said.
Simon Wallace, president of the Aged Care Association, knew of at least 15 rest homes that had stopped before new admissions could be made.
“There are hundreds of beds where this is happening right now,” he said.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said there were two ways for older workers to enter MIQ faster – by applying on an emergency basis, or by showing off their work.
But the Aged Care Association claims that nurses are trying these routes and their applications have been rejected.
She is seeking a separate MIQ facility from either government, especially for key health workers.
This kind of special allotment is unheard of – 60 rooms have been reserved for key construction workers since June.
However, according to written questions from Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hopkins, the construction sector agreement was unused in the first two months, and only on August 15, spare rooms were available for booking for the general public.
Wallace said the clock is ticking with job offers for rest homes and nurses.
He said that with the global demand for nurses, there are other countries where they can go.
“We are losing these nurses and missing the opportunity to fill the gaps that we desperately need to fill in New Zealand.”
Wallace said it was shocking that the applications went without thinking, while the government made major changes to the MIQ booking system.
The MBIE said there are many factors to balance the government when considering which group to allocate MIQ seats to, including its humanitarian, social and economic objectives.