Nurses jumping between ED and managed quarantine hotels

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Jul 2020, 11:49AM
Photo / 123rf

Nurses jumping between ED and managed quarantine hotels

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Jul 2020, 11:49AM

Nurses treating vulnerable patients in Auckland EDs have also been working lucrative shifts at managed quarantine hotels - sparking warnings from a nurses' union.

Nurses Society of New Zealand (NSNZ) has been warning its 5500 members against working for more than one employer due to the risk of Covid-19 infection and has raised concerns with all three District Health Boards in Auckland.

It comes months after Waitakere Hospital changed its protocols due to transmission concerns about treating both Covid-19 patients and people on different wards.

National Party health spokesman Shane Reti has slammed the Government for allowing this to happen, saying it's "completely unacceptable" and was calling for it to end urgently.

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said he had already had discussions about this issue and was seeking further advice.

"Nurses working in managed isolation and quarantine facilities are skilled professionals who understand infection control and are using all the appropriate PPE," Hipkins said.

"However, we are constantly reviewing policies and procedures to ensure everything is being done to keep New Zealanders safe."

However, the Ministry of Health is defending the moonlighting, saying the safety procedures at managed quarantine hotels are robust and sufficient.

"This is both legal and well managed within the sector," a ministry spokesperson said.

When asked how many nurses it was aware of working in EDs and managed quarantine facilities, it said "some" and wouldn't comment further.

The Herald understands nurses working at managed quarantine hotels were paid about $500 a shift by Government-partnered company Geneva Healthcare.

Nurses unions wouldn't comment on how much its members were being paid but said it was a "good earner for them".

It's unknown if hospital staff have been working at Jet Park where positive Covid-19 cases are staying.