Nurses target lower ratio

Fiji Times, November 21, 2010

The Health Ministry plans to bring down the nurse to patient ratio to one nurse to eight patients from one nurse to 15 patients.

Nursing Services director Silina Waqaledua said it was part of the recommendations that was made after a review of nursing in Fiji.

Ms Waqaledua said there were 18,011 nurses in Fiji including those who had retired. She said others had migrated.

"We have seen a difference in the number of nurses leaving Fiji to work overseas. Fiji used to lose about 100 nurses every year due to migration or retirement of nurses," she said.

However she said there has been a change in the trend over the past two years and the ministry's records showed 43 nurses migrated every year.

She said the majority migrated because of better work conditions and pay.

"But we have put in place some retaining programs which include training for nurses, nursing specialised training, increased number of nursing intakes at the Fiji School of Nursing and other programs," she said.

She said the government endorsed the Ministry of Health's request to increase the annual intake at the FSN and so the school would take and additional 170.

She said there was a need to improve the working condition of nurses in Fiji and the ministry was looking at housing benefits and other issues.

She said the review on the nursing workforce made 103 recommendations to improve nurses' working conditions and the recommendations were expected to be implemented within the next five years.

The Fiji Nursing Association had raised its concerns earlier this year on the shortage of midwives.

Ms Waqaledua said in the past 10 years they trained more than 800 midwives but only 256 remained in Fiji.

"Midwives are important for Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 which are about child health and maternal health and that is why we are trying to train more midwives," she said.

She said last year 60 midwives were trained and they planned to increase that number.

Copyright © 2010, Fiji Times Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Two Corrections

Thank you for the updates on Fiji nurses and health services in Fiji. I wish to point out two corrections -

1. Your article dated Nov 2010 on number of nurses as quoted by Director of Nursing Services; is 1801 and not 18011.
2. The Director of Nursing Services name is Silina Waqa Ledua - ie Waqa and Ledua are separate names.

Many thanks for your corrections.

Kuini Lutua
General Secretary
Fiji Nursing Association

Thank You

Thank you so much for these corrections. I've posted them on Seachange Bulletin. While nurses and all other working people around the world are under attack right now from the neo-liberal agenda of privatization, deregulation and reliance on the marketplace for dealing with social issues, Fiji nurses have had special crosses to bear. We've tried to make other nurses and the public at large aware of these so as to be able to offer support wherever appropriate. Please continue to communicate with us, and send information we can share with the wider community of nurses. - Sandy Eaton, RN