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Caring in the community during a pandemic.

NZNO supports the Ministry of Health's proposal to establish community-based assessment centres (CBAC) to treat and care for New Zealanders in a pandemic. As it plans for scenarios of up to 1.6 million cases of pandemic influenza, the Ministry is looking to the community to provide frontline services.

However, in a submission last month, NZNO expressed concerns about the sustainability, availability and safety of the health workforce, particularly nurses, during any pandemic influenza outbreak. With nurse shortages already severe, finding sufficient numbers of registered nurses to staff the centres could be difficult. "Planning to overcome this difficulty needs to begin now," the submission says. It was also vital that all centres had personal protective equipment and took full infection control measures to protect staff exposed to the virus.

NZNO suggests the centres remain open for 24 hours, rather than close at the end of the normal working day. "Infectious disease does not keep to a Monday to Friday schedule." Other suggestions include: record keeping to be standardised nationally, internet access be included in all centres to aid communication, a manual for CBAC procedures be developed; and education for staff on how to protect themselves from harm. Local iwi should determine appropriate venues for centres in their own areas, and nurses and other staff should receive adequate training for their roles within CBACs, the submission says.

Members of the College of Practice Nurses NZNO the College of Emergency Nurses NZNO, and NZNO's Public Health Nurses' and Infection Control Nurses' sections contributed to the submission.
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Title Annotation:NEWS AND EVENTS
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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