FIJI HEALTH CARE TO TAKE HIT WITH NURSE

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RETIREMENTS
100 nurses are expected to leave their jobs this year

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 21, 2009) – The delivery of health services in local communities will deteriorate when around 100 nurses expect to retire at the age of 55 this year, says Fiji Nurses Association’s general secretary Kuini Lutua.

She said the burden of insufficient nurses in the country would fall upon the community itself.

"The negative effect is not so much on nurses who can always find work outside Fiji if they wish. The problem will be in the delivery of health services to us, the local community," Lutua said.

Health is an essential service and is the responsibility of the interim Government to ensure it is being delivered effectively. Without the effectiveness in its services, hospital services would deteriorate placing the health of the public in danger," she said.

"Many of our nurses will feel they are overworked when the number of nurses reduces and the burn out effect will cause sickness and mental stress for the nurses, thereby affecting the quality of nursing care that is to be given," Lutua said.

"For nurses, the nursing competency is what will take time for younger nurses to master. Decision making and planning of work plans are other areas that can be affected," she said.

Lutua said the current membership that would be affected by the new retirement age was around 100.

However, she said most nurses who had reached the age of 55 have already withdrawn their membership.

"Most from this lot are holding leadership positions in the ministry and if they leave suddenly, it will affect nursing leadership at head quarters and other divisions."

Meanwhile, the FNA is collecting data from all its branches on nurses who would be subjected to the new retirement age.

"We also intend to negotiate with the PSC (Public Service Commission) and the Ministry of Health on how best this policy is to be tackled so that it will not cause too much disruptions and havoc in the health system," Lutua said.

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