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Staff Shortages at Sleep Service (TGA and WHK)

The Sleep Service both at Whakatāne and Tauranga is currently experiencing staff shortages that will be ongoing until February 2023.

This is due to planned and unplanned leave, recently recruited staff withdrawing from offered positions and an overall lengthy recruitment process. 

Action plan to address this situation:

  • HCAs and TGA OPD sleep admin support TGA available to help with 0800 number calls (used by existing patients to report problems and access replacement parts).
  • Prioritising urgent newly referred patients for service delivery will continue:
    • G1 acute drivers (commercial) will be priority to receive L4-L3 studies and commence CPAP therapy.
    • Existing NZTA patients will still be reviewed. Outsourcing of diagnostic storing to physiologist at Auckland (local outsourcing has been explored and is not possible)
    • Aim is that G2 referrals will be graded from Feb 2023
  • A decline note, including potential alternative options for patients and the responsibilities of patients and referrers will be drafted for BPAC referrals.
  • A letter has been drafted and will be sent to our current patients with information (please see attached)

On a more positive note:

  • The recruitment process has been successful for physiologists across both TGA and WHK, but realistically the new staff will not be onboard until late Jan 2023
  • At TGA 2x sleep physiologists have been appointed
  • At WHK 1x clinical physiologist experienced in sleep, respiratory and cardiac diagnostics is being offered a casual contract.

We regret that this approach is currently necessary however there are no viable alternatives. We appreciate the support of all our colleagues at this time.

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