Nurse absenteeism a chronic issue: McNeil

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NURSE absenteeism at the National Referral hospital in Honiara is a chronic issue that started before the covid-19 pandemic.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary, Pauline McNeil revealed this during the Bills and Legislative Committee hearing of the Public Health and Emergency Bill 2021 in Parliament yesterday.

The Committee is scrutinising the Bill which aims to provide suitable and urgent responses to public health emergencies and circumstances that threatens the health of the persons and communities of Solomon Islands.

The bill aims to enable a range of operational capabilities and activities that will be able to quickly respond to such emergencies and circumstances and prevent, mitigate, eliminate the contamination, disease or other occurrence causing the emergencies and circumstances, and recover from them.

Furthermore, Chief Executive Officer of NRH, Dr George Wilson Malefoasi said a mechanism was put in place to deal with absenteeism.

Chairman of BLC, Matthew Wale raised the issue of fatigue experienced by nurses who work long hours at NRH.

Malefoasi said the hospital has put in place a shift mechanism to address it.

He said one nurse can work for eight hours and take a few days break in order to deal with burn outs.

Malefoasi said it is bit more organised now compared to the initial stage.

“Now we have five teams of five who work around two weeks,” he said.