Senior, experienced health workers going overseas where they are ‘valued’


The country is set to lose hundreds of its experienced nurses following the government’s failure to address their welfare and outstanding issues.

More than a hundred senior nurses have signed up for jobs overseas, especially Australia.

And this number is increasing every day, it is reported.

Reasons behind this mass brain drain include:

1) SINA (Nurses association) issue which has been outstanding since 2020. In November, 2020, following a mass strike by nurses over covid-19 working conditions, the DCGA government responded harshly by suspending SINA and charging eight senior nurses, accusing them of incitement. To this day, nurses have reportedly worked under duress, too afraid to speak up on deteriorating working conditions and welfare problems.

2) Solomon Islands and Honiara is too expensive to live in with the low salaries that nurses receive from the government. Government has ignored nurses, and by removing their platform to voice their plights, SINA, the voices of nurses around the country is suppressed.

One of the nurses who are heading overseas confirmed the news to Island Sun yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We nurses are frustrated over our condition where government does no reinstate Solomon Island Nursing Association (SINA) as our representative or body that will speak for our issues.

“Also, we nurses want to find greener pastures following the cost of living is very expensive,” the nurse said.

The nurse says, speaking of SINA, it is the body that oversees nurses’ welfares.

“At the moment it is suspended and so there is no body looking after issues of nurses.

“It is like nothing is forthcoming for us nurses. So, we want to find greener pastures outside of the country that does have better conditions. It is an opportunity that most nurses are looking forward to.

“Basically we see that we have more value outside of the country compared to inside the country where we are not recognised because the body that will fight for us is not reinstated,” the nurse said

The source adds by confirming that more than a hundred nurses have submitted their application to the Standard of Care Australia.

“Still more nurses keep submitting their applications.”

The nurse also confirmed that Standard of Care Australia is the recruitment agency.

National Director of Nursing at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Michael Larui told Island Sun yesterday the ministry is not aware of this matter and will investigate it.

Lauri said they will try to find ways to retain experienced nurses who are planning to leave. 

“We cannot lose them. We need to retain them (nurses). I know that most of those who are planning to leave are senior nurses who have been working for more than 20 years with wealth of experience.

“If all of them leave the impact will be felt in our healthcare system,” he said.  

Standard of Care Australia (SOCA) started taking in applications from participants in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu around November 2022.

SOCA’s Pacific Islands director is based in Honiara.

Through the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, job seekers from nine Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste can work in Australia’s aged-care sector for a minimum period of one year and up to four years.

SOCA has worked directly with Approved Employers in Aged Care under the PALM Scheme to arrange for the placement of candidates for periods up to four years.

They also assist candidates and employers to apply for and meet the visa requirements under the PALM programme and negotiate training arrangements for candidates in Australia.

SOCA also works with candidates to arrange travel, accommodation, living allowances and employer loans for costs not covered by their employment contract.

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