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Nursing shortages set to worsen

There are more headaches predicted for the health network in coming years as nursing experts say staff shortages will get worse.

Australia’s aging population will put additional strain on the state’s health sector over the next decade.

Lisa Kingsberry reports.

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Experts from across the state came together in Brisbane today to nut out solutions to future staffing shortages.

The Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Summit is formulating innovative ways to address severe shortages in Queensland’s hospitals and allied health networks.

Julie Bignell, Australian Service Union: “Human resources are an absolute key issue. For planning for our hospitals right now and into the future from our perspective we need to make sure there’s enough support staff and they’re doing the right thing.”

But experts say they’re finding it difficult to recruit new health workers to the industry.

Desley Geraghty-Rudd, Nurse Unit Manager, Nambour Hospital: “Staff are very stressed, morale’s poor, we talk fast, we walk fast, we run all the time and we can’t give patients the care we’d like to give them so I’m hoping some innovation might come up today.”

Health experts warn there will be a shortage of up to 14,000 nurses and midwives by 2014 if drastic action isn’t taken immediately.”

The Queensland Nurses Union says continued lobbying for workable solutions hasn’t resulted in government action but the risk of doing nothing is concerning.

Beth Mohle, Queensland Nurses Union: “Well I think it’s going to have an impact in terms of the types of services that can be delivered and the quality of services that can be delivered. It really is of concern to us.”

The summit will table five key solutions that can immediately help reduce the risk of severe shortages.

Lisa Kingsberry, QUT News