19 Apr 2010

Fiji faces shortage of 500 nurses

9:53 pm on 19 April 2010

About 500 extra nurses are needed to fix Fiji's nursing shortage.

The Fiji Times newspaper reports the additional nurses will be needed to fill the vacuum left by experienced and skilled nurses who retired last year.

The general-secretary of the Fiji Nursing Association, Kuini Lutua, says it lost about 200 nurses last year alone, leaving only 1,200 to take on the workload in hospitals and health centres nationwide.

Ms Lutua says it is a problem the Ministry of Health acknowledges has affected the sector for the past decade.

The ministry says Fiji has always had a shortage of nurses, but the intake at the Fiji Nursing School has been increased and graduates of the Sangam Nursing College have been hired.

It says most nurses are leaving for better deals elsewhere.