80 Zimbabwean Nurses May Have False Papers

80 Zimbabwean nurses in NZ may have false papers

New Zealand Herald
9:15AM Friday February 16, 2007

The Nursing Council is investigating whether 80 Zimbabwean nurses working in New Zealand rest homes and hospitals are using false papers.

The nurses' status had been under investigation since August.

All the Zimbabwean nurses involved have been granted New Zealand registration and are still working in public and private hospitals.

Council chief executive Marion Clark told The Press she received a letter from the Nursing Council of Zimbabwe in August warning that it was likely New Zealand had received “false verification” on the health workers' registration.

“Before any nurse can register in New Zealand, we are provided with a certificate of good standing that verifies they are qualified and on the register (in their home country),” she said.

Ms Clark was not concerned the nurses remained on wards caring for patients during the investigation and she did not believe there was any risk to the public.

She said similar investigations in Australia and Britain had led to some nurses being deregistered.

Guardian Healthcare, which employs 25 of the 80 Zimbabwean nurses, believed all the nurses had been properly trained.

Chief executive Dwayne Crombie said: “My understanding is they all went through genuine nursing school.”

He said managers and clinical leaders had reported the nurses' clinical practice was up to standard.

Recruitment agent Christine Howard-Brown, who interviewed several nurses and checked their references, said she was “100 per cent confident” they were legally entitled to work in New Zealand.

The issue was due to an administrative error in Zimbabwe, she said.

The workers' immigration applications have been put on hold pending the investigation as most or all entered New Zealand under the skilled migrants category.