Govt blocking critical health staff from coming to NZ

Stuff reported:

New Zealand has had 18 months to prepare for endemic Covid-19, but many in the health sector feel their most important weapon has seemingly been left out of the equation. Both new and existing healthcare professionals are struggling to get into MIQ. Louisa Steyl reports.

They’re not as important as a Minister travelling with nine staff, or a sports team!

Dalton understands that 100 of the 250 requests made by DHBs in recent months have been rejected – including an application from one overseas ICU nurse who has been rejected six times.

This is beyond crazy. Anyone needed by a DHB in a pandemic should be given priority.

The situation hasn’t improved. Southland is at risk of losing its only secondary birthing facility because its clinical director has been shut out of the country.

Dr Jim Faherty went to the United States to support his dying father in August after already losing his mum in March.

He has been stonewalled by bureaucracy, with three failed applications and one appeal.

“The system of MIQ allocation seems broken, non-transparent, inequitable, overburdened and flawed,” he says.

So Southland families may lose their birthing facility because of the Government’s management of MIQ.

MIQ capacity can’t be increased without nurses, but nurses can’t get into the country.

This shows the lunacy of what the Government is doing. People have been saying for many months we must expand MIQ capacity, and the Government says it can’t as we don’t have enough nurses. So rather than let some nurses in as a priority, they leave the health system short staffed and MIQ without the necessary capacity.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson says it has informed MBIE that access to MIQ spaces is a barrier for critical health workers to entering New Zealand.

So even the Ministry of Health is frustrated. What this points to is a failure of leadership by Ministers. If your Ministry of Health is saying that MBIE is blocking health staff from coming to NZ, then a competent Minister would push through a solution.

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