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HomeNew ZealandWellington hospice takes only urgent admissions as staff shortages hit

Wellington hospice takes only urgent admissions as staff shortages hit

The Nelson Tasman Hospice cares for more than 155 patients at any one time.

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Mary Potter Hospice is struggling to find staff and hire locums for cover during leave.
Photo: 123RF

Mary Potter Hospice in the Wellington region is refusing to accept non-urgent admissions for at least a fortnight.

The charity offers specialist palliative care services in Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti.

Chief executive Tony Paine told RNZ the hospice is “really struggling to recruit staff”.

Paine said the hospice, like the rest of the industry, had been affected by the shortage of doctors and nurses across the health system.

Staff needed a break over Christmas however locums to provide cover were difficult to recruit.

It had been a “a pretty tough year” with patients referred to the hospice later than they would have been due to Covid-related delays, Pain said, resulting in cases being more “complex”.

All of those things added up to the the hospice making “the really unfortunate move of having to say we’ll only take urgent people for a couple of weeks”.

The reduced intake would be reviewed after two weeks and extended if needed, Paine said.

“Obviously we only want to do it for as short a period of time as possible.”

He hoped the two week period of reduced intake would give them the time to put other measures in place to manage demand for their hospice services.

In the meantime, Paine believes they had set the admission bar low enough that most of those needing care would still be admitted.

Those who didn’t meet the tighter criteria would need to continue being managed either by their GP or in the hospital system, he said.

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