15 Jul 2008

Fiji health system headed for crisis says nursing association

1:38 pm on 15 July 2008

The Fiji Nursing Association says a shortage of nurses is straining the health system to crisis point.

Its general secretary, Kuini Lutua, says the number of graduates leaving Fiji has increased in the past couple of years to an average of 75 out of every hundred.

Mrs Lutua says low salaries, poor working conditions and the lack of a government-led retention strategy are all contributing factors to the numbers of nurses leaving the country.

But she says the government should also set up more nurse training facilities.

"There's so many high school graduates who are turned away after the interview. For every 2000 students who have applied for nursing about 1800 of them qualify but we can only take between 120 to 150 students"

Kuini Lutua says too many doctors and workers from the wider health sector, such as pharmacists and dentists, are also leaving Fiji for better wages and working conditions.