The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is satisfied now that Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) has agreed to restrict visitation to compassionate grounds only, when it moves Auckland Hospital from Code Yellow to Code Orange at 7 am tomorrow.
NZNO Industrial Advisor David Wait said this decision brings ADHBs visitation practice into line with the other hospitals in the Auckland region and reduces the risk of COVID-19 entering hospitals.
"We absolutely acknowledge that there are many health benefits from family and whānau visits to hospital patients. However, we are at Level 4 in the middle of a pandemic, which is why other Auckland region hospitals have much tighter policies.
"This change should have come long ago, and we're just grateful Auckland Hospital has been lucky not to have had a COVID exposure event."
Wait said the next step was for ADHB to ensure a safe visitation policy going into the future.
"We understand Auckland Hospital's visitation policy will be reviewed, and it's important that we and the hospital's Health and Safety Representatives are included in that review.
"It is our members that make up Auckland Hospital's frontline staff, and it is therefore imperative they have a say in a policy that will very much affect their own safety and working conditions, along with the health of patients and the public.
"We look forward to ADHB engaging with us on this and to working with them to help ensure the best health and safety decisions are made."