Whanganui iwi collective calls for more nurses in Covid response efforts

An iwi collective of Māori Health providers surrounding the Whanganui River are calling for more nurses to help in their Covid outreach efforts.

“Clinical workforce shortages are not new to anyone and this problem isn’t specific to Wanganui," says Te Ranga Tupua Operations lead Elijah Pue.

"But is proving to be very difficult across our rohe, and this rapid response team we are looking to for will work up until March because the one thing we are trying to do here is up to our vaccination rates across the rohe."

The collective comprises of iwi health providers from Waimarino, Rangitīkei, Whanganui and South Taranaki, and operations lead Elijah Pue says they’ve most certainly had their hands full in the last few months, and despite a good base salary and flexible hours – The shortage of nurses continues to be one of their biggest obstacles.

“This mahi is for a short period of time so it's hard to find registered nurses for a 4-month rollout… And then on top of that, accommodation is really hard to find especially in rural areas like Raetihi and Taihape.”

Pue emphasizes that their outreach efforts don’t stop at vaccination or testing stations, rather they are constantly checking in with whānau to see what they are in need of during this challenging time.

“On top of giving out welfare packs, or kai packages, we are going into their home or even when they come in for their vaccination we asking them ‘what does success look like for you, or what’s important in the new year – And the answers differ from whānau to whānau.”