Unsafe staffing reports

December 1, 2020

Concerns about safe staffing at managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities, particularly in Auckland, continue to be reported to NZNO, acting associate professional services manager Kate Weston said.

Reports included leaving a health-care assistant (HCA) responsible for a facility overnight with up to 200 guests and no registered nurse support. Other issues had been lack of back-up when guests presented with non-COVID-19 problems, including chronic health issues, Weston said.

The HCA was “absolutely exposed” if anything had gone wrong, NZNO organiser Sharleen Rapoto said.

Nurses had reported to NZNO that they were dealing with many mental health issues across MIQ facilities, including suicidal ideation and self-harming, requiring 24-hour-a-day vigilance. But it was difficult to staff the facilities in Auckland, where the district health boards were already short-staffed. “There is nobody to do it,” Rapoto said.

NZNO hoped more sustainable solutions could be found to staffing MIQ facilities, “which are going to be with us well into 2021”, Weston said.