Plus new hospital on Government radar.

Te Whatu Ora Te Matau a Māui (HB) currently has 93.25 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) vacancies for nurses in our HB hospital.

This figure was supplied to BayBuzz this week, after we made an Official Information Request (OIA) while preparing a magazine feature article on the nurses’ vacancy crisis in Hawke’s Bay.  

Published in BayBuzz magazine, due out next week, the article hears first-hand from a nurse working in the Emergency Department who describes conditions at breaking point with nurses “working 12-hour shifts “ and beyond “safe staff patient ratios”. 

We also talk to a Union leader who says we can’t blame Covid for the current crisis. “Covid just exposed a broken health system.” She adds that many nurses throughout HB hospital are “burnt out” and “morale is low”. 

This week the Labour Government’s Health Minister Alesyha Verrall unveiled an action plan to try and fill health workforce gaps throughout the country. As reported in Stuff,  the staggering gaps across the professions sat at “4800 nurses, 1050 midwives, 1700 doctors including GPs, 170 pharmacists, 120 sonographers, 200 anaesthetic technicians, 220 dental practitioners, 30 radiation therapists, 30 clinical cardiac physiologists.”

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) have also been in talks and bargaining with Te Whatu Ora this week. Some 2,300 nurses and midwives are members of the NZNO in Hawke’s Bay, and our story gives them a voice with a local perspective on what the NZNO wants for its members and why.

HB on Government radar for new hospital

Meanwhile on another front, the Government has confirmed that Te Matau a Māui has a place on its Regional Hospital Redevelopment Programme.

“This means the Government will partner with us and provide funding for a new hospital,” says Patrick Le Geyt, Regional Director, Central Region, Te Aka Whai Ora (Māori Health Authority) on a promotional video at

Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (Hawke’s Bay Hospital) was built in 1928.  

Andrew Boyd,  Head of Hospital and Specialist Services Business Partnering, Te Whatu Ora says on the same video, that healthcare demand has outpaced our system’s capacity. “Today many of our facilities are old, too small, and no longer fit for purpose.“ 

But whether the current hospital will be re-purposed or whether a new hospital will be built on a new site, is speculation. 

Aaron Matthews,  Director – Capital Investment, Infrastructure and Investment Group, Te Whatu Ora told BayBuzz this week that identifying the need for any new infrastructure investment or the refurbishment of current facilities requires various plans and assessments to be completed, which takes some time – up to several years in some instances.

“We are making steady progress towards the completion of a comprehensive Clinical Services Plan, Asset Management Plan and subsequent Site Master Plan. These will help inform a Programme Business Case, which is currently scheduled to start next year subject to approval to proceed.

“Funding for any infrastructure redevelopments would need to be sought through the budget process once this work is completed. The timing and priority of any redevelopment of the hospital is yet to be determined.”

Prospects for a new hospital is another issue explored in the forthcoming BayBuzz magazine.    

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


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  1. It’s hard to understand how this shortfall continues when we have a several thousand health workers who were forced to resign because they chose not to be vaccinated. I wonder the rationale that disallows several hundred nurses and doctors from resuming their positions especially now that we understand the vaccine never stopped transmission? We could be requesting them to return to their positions and compensate them for unjust dismissal.

    1. Absolutely correct Anita.
      There can only be two reasons why mandates still exist, either it is the fact that some organisations are being absolutely vindictive or else they only want compliant employees as this goes way past just stupidity and incompetence of management.
      Many people including politicians don’t even realise mandates still exist because the main stream media are deliberately suppressing information.

    2. One cannot allow health personnel into a health facility that houses people of compromised health, if those personnel have not taken the basic step of protecting themselves and others from the risks a new pandemic. The nature of vaccines, created by vaccinologists is to reduce the impact of disease and mitigate the chances of cross infection, as this did.

  2. This provides the community with real data that is needed to understand the nursing crisis locally and nationally. However by only focussing on Te Whatu Ora you omit to bring attention to the situation of primary health nurses who continue to work with being included in ANY of the improvements in nursing pay or conditions, which have been substantial in recent months. Currently PHN’s receive around $10 ph less, this margin will increase once the most recent pay increases for Te Whatu Ora nurses comes in. PHN’s have no processes for fiscal recognition for professional development or academic achievement in nursing, and have little opportunity for a professional pathway. This is despite working in a sector which is increasingly being expected to met the gap that the secondary services routinely don’t meet anymore as well as primary health. Primary health nurses are as highly competent and qualified as their hospital colleagues but are being treated as of less value, whilst being able to provide excellence across a broad but increasingly specific range of health needs and conditions. That there is no progress in advocacy and remedying this is shameful. The NZNO has not been energetic or effective, perhaps you should talk to the College of Nurses Aotearoa as well.

  3. Absolutely true Anita and Murray. Ignorance and pride could be another reason for the continuation of the absurd mandates.
    Gwen Story

  4. I agree with the above about mandates. This government will not admit that the vaccine does not work. The sooner October 14 arrives the better.

  5. I have friends who are excellent nurses who were bashed by so called police officers at the parliment protest.

    Insane that they are still mandated out of work.

    Is a shame the oppositions only critique was jabs and mandates should have been earlier….

    Voting will be like deciding which wing of the plane do we want to pretend to govern….the corporations decide where and when the plane flies and the rkles for the passengers. Based on fear.

    The corporations control academic funding ie. Study outcomes by cherry picking data and the media

    Most kiwis dont realise the corporations pay very little tax here, or the amount of money we generate that goes off shore

    Visionary leadership is extinct

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