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Serious shortages loom with retirement, immigration

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 26, 2009) – Nearly 33 per cent of the country's nurses have exited Fiji's public health system in the past five years, says a Fiji School of Medicine research team.

As a result, Fiji has begun to experience a shortage of senior nurses and a surplus of junior nurses, says FSM's director of research, Dr Graham Roberts.

Speaking at the national health systems research workshop held at the Fiji School of Medicine yesterday, he said the Ministry of Health had difficulty employing the number of new nurses graduating annually.

"While there is no shortage of generally trained nurses at the staff nurse level, there is a shortage of some cadres of senior level nurses and, importantly, of specialist nurses including those with specialist skills in intensive care, cardiology and accident and emergency," he said.

Nurses specialised in the above categories were in demand from more developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and other Middle East countries where they were offered higher salaries.

According to the research findings, an average of 109 nurses either resigned or retired annually.

The research also revealed nurses chose to migrate for promotion in their profession.

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