19 Jul 2012

Reopening of Cook Islands School of Nursing urged

3:08 pm on 19 July 2012

The chairman of an Auckland district health board says it's in everybody's best interest for the Cooks Islands School of Nursing to be reopened by their government.

The Counties Manukau District Health Board chairman, Professor Gregor Coster, has discussed ways the Board can support the school with the secretary for the Cook Islands Ministry for Health, Elizabeth Iro.

The School was closed in 2008 and Professor Coster says the Cook Islands faces a long-term shortage of nurses if the school doesn't reopen.

He says it's important for Cook Islanders to receive treatment in their own country.

"We're keen that Cook Island people get service actually in the Cook Islands, which saves the cost of the Cook Islands' patients coming down to New Zealand. Importantly, we would rather they got care there so that they don't end up getting admitted to Middlemore Hospital unnecessarily. It's in everyone's interest for us to provide that support."

Professor Coster says the school is likely to be reopened in the next one to two years, despite the Cook Islands government yet to commit funding towards its reopening.