Nurses and midwives are among 25 Lakes District Health Board staff who have chosen not to get vaccinated and lost their jobs for it.

Technical Advisory Services – an organisation representing district health boards – released nationwide DHB staff vaccination data on December 23.

The figures show out of 25 employees who lost their jobs at the Lakes DHB, there were 12 nurses, three midwives and 10 others. Numbers fewer than three in any category were included in the others category for privacy reasons.

Fewer than three staff members at the DHB resigned and five were stood down, including those who had applied for a medical exemption or were waiting for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This did not include people who had been issued notices of termination, or whose resignations had been accepted by the DHB.

All DHB staff were required to have had their first Covid vaccination by 11.59pm on November 15 under the Government’s Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order.

Lead DHB chief executive Rosemary Clements, who represents all DHBs in New Zealand, said the number of unvaccinated staff unable to work reduced by almost 300 over the past month across the country.

Clements said 61 staff at DHBs stood down had received the AstraZeneca vaccine since it became available on November 29 and had been able to return to work. Others had opted to have the Pfizer vaccine and a small number of people received medical exemptions.

Nationally, 226 people remained stood down, 140 have resigned and 814 have had their employment terminated.

These figures included 44 doctors, 418 nurses and 72 midwives – compared with 52 doctors, 518 nurses, and 90 midwives a month ago.

Clements said DHBs terminated employment where no other alternative or redeployment options could be found.

”This step has been taken when staff have confirmed they will not be vaccinated. DHBs are complying fully with all employment law requirements and we have engaged and agreed with health sector unions on the processes we are following,” she said.

Clements said DHBs put service delivery mitigations in place well over a month ago, if needed, to minimise any impact on services. These included careful staff rostering, and close monitoring of any areas where there may be some staff shortages, she said.

“Our absolute focus continues to be on ensuring continuity of patient care.”

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation and The Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service have been approached for comment.


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