THE issue of the shortage of nurses in health centres around the country is refusing to go away.
Fiji Nursing Association general secretary Salanieta Matiavi told this newspaper that hospitals and health centres had been facing a shortage for many years now.
"Yes, hospitals and health centres around the country have been experiencing a shortage for so many years," she said.
"For the Intensive Care Unit, the ratio is one nurse to three patients. The ratio is different for all the departments."
For the general wards, she said there was a ration of one nurse to 10 or 15 patients. Mrs Matiavi said many experienced nurses had either migrated or retired.
"The new nurses need supervision. They need one to two years to gain experience," she said.
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said 90 nurses graduated every year while 60 retired, and since 2009 the ministry has produced 170 nurses each year. "Now we have over 2000 nurses working. Previously, there used to be 1500 nurses. So there is a 25 per cent increase in the numbers," he said.
"There are 50 nurses coming out of TISI Sangam on December 8 and in March next year, 250 nurses are coming out of Fiji National University," said Dr Sharma.