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DHB work all hours to fill roles

The Wairarapa District Health Board is currently recruiting for nine positions. PHOTO/FILE


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Wairarapa District Health Board is working nights and weekends to fill staff vacancies.

Executive leader of operations, Kieran McCann, said he was working through a “whiteboard full of candidates” for the roles.

The Wairarapa DHB meeting yesterday, the first since the election, also saw a high number of births in maternity, the demolition of the old Masterton Hospital, and Maori health being discussed.

While the meeting was conducted by last term’s board members, many of the newly elected members attended.

The DHB had been “very active” on the recruitment front, McCann told the board.

“Planned care for orthopaedics has dropped a bit, we have to muddle through that as best as we can.

“In terms of recruitment we’ve been very busy interviewing, we’ve got a whiteboard full of candidates, we’ve been interviewing on weekends and nights and doing reference checks all over the world.”

The DHB has two orthopaedic surgeon offers on the table – one is for a New Zealand graduate who’s received a fellowship overseas, the other is in Australia.

McCann said the DHB was also engaging with several locums [temporary staff] for longer term placements.

“Rather than weekly placements, ideally we’d like to get placements for six months as it helps continuity.

“We know that having a locum workforce is suboptimal, it’s not what we want, we want a recruited workforce. “But it’s a slightly safer scenario in terms of continuity of care as they become familiar in the practice.”

There was also interest in the anaesthetist roles, and they were having to vet CVs well, a “good problem to have”, McCann said.

One and a half full time vacancies are expected by the end of 2019.

The DHB is currently recruiting for two full time general surgeon roles, two orthopaedic surgeons, one and a half full time anaesthetist roles, as well as 1.8 full time dental therapists, a medical imaging technician vacancy, a charge medical midwife manager, speech-language therapist, and medical officer.

A director of midwifery was recently appointed.

Activity in midwifery had been unusually high in the last six weeks, McCann also said.

“There were some significant issues about three weeks ago with beds, in that there were a lot more we were delivering than we could physically best cater for.”

DHB board papers listed July as one of the busiest birthing months for many years.

In the first quarter the Wairarapa DHB had six pre-birth transfers to Capital and Coast DHB.

The closure of Arbor House also featured in notes – the 25-bed aged residential care facility closed on Sunday and had housed 19 long term residents.

The report said that there are sufficient beds in Wairarapa to accommodate all former Arbor House residents.


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