Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vietnam to help solve nurse shortage

SOUTH Australia is set to partner Vietnam in an attempt to solve the state's nursing workforce shortage.Health Minister John Hill, Health Department chief Tony Sherbon and SA's Lieutenant-Governor Hieu Van Le will travel to Vietnam next month to begin talks.
SA is short of 400 nurses.
The crisis is expected to deepen with the ageing population and as the mining and defence industries attract potential workers from the nursing field.
Mr Hill told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce this week nursing graduate numbers needed to be more than doubled to maintain numbers. Vietnam was chosen because of Mr Le's ties and as there is a large proportion of young people in the South-East Asian nation, many of whom are "competing like crazy" to get into institutions.
Mr Hill said the State Government would not leave poorer countries with their own shortages. "We want to do this in an ethical and a morally good way," he said.
"We want to start a dialogue with Vietnam about helping them train nurses in institutions which are related to SA institutions so we can train nurses for them and for (us) as well."
He said the plan still was in the early stages but could result in hundreds, if not thousands, of Vietnamese nurses eventually being recruited to work in SA.
"We can see this pressing need coming. We want to put some methods in place," Mr Hill said.
Opposition health spokeswoman Vickie Chapman said she was wary of the plan because it could lead to the Government "harvesting" healthcare workers from countries where they are needed. "We'd want to see more detail (but) we would say if they're going to sponsor the training of more nurses in a country of need then it is quite reasonable to have some portion of those come to Australia," she said.
Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Elizabeth Dabars said the main thing they were concerned about was ensuring a win-win situation for the host country and for Australia.
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