18 Jul 2012

Plans to reopen the Cook Islands School of Nursing

6:21 pm on 18 July 2012

Plans to reopen the Cook Islands School of Nursing are being discussed by the country's Ministry of Health and an Auckland district health board.

The chairman of the Counties Manukau District Health Board, Professor Gregor Coster, discussed ways the Board can support the school with the secretary for the Cook Islands Ministry for Health, Elizabeth Iro.

The School was closed in 2008 due to a lack of funding.

Professor Coster says the Cook Islands faces a long-term shortage of nurses if the school doesn't reopen.

"The health workforce of nurses in the Cook Islands is ageing, and without a pipeline of young nurses coming through they'll actually receive quite a gap in their health services. We need to remember that it's a group of 15 islands with 20,000 people [and] they've got four doctors there, so there's a heavy reliance on well-trained nurses."

Professor Coster says the School is likely to be reopened in the next one to two years, despite the Cook Islands government yet to commit funding towards the School's reopening.