Nurses for Freedom NZ was established in June 2022 to support Nurses, Midwives and Health Care Assistants terminated under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. Despite governmental mandates ending in September 2022, ongoing restrictions imposed by Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ) & other agencies prevented hundreds of healthcare workers returning to work & supporting a failing health system for a further nine and a half months.
Following widespread consultation, Te Whatu Ora, on the 3rd July 2023, determined that the Covid 19 vaccination would not be mandatory, instead preferring a 'principled, risk-assessment based approach.' Te Whatu Ora states that vaccination will be 'promoted, encouraged and provided in the workplace by means of a 'supportive and encouraging approach to help prevent and mitigate the effects of various infections, and as part of an overall strategy to reduce harm from diseases in healthcare settings.' No exemption process is mentioned in the policy.
Category A includes those 'at a higher risk of workplace exposure to COVID-19 through face-to-face patient interaction and because they work in clinical areas.' This cohort including employees, closely held clinical contractors, access agreements, students/trainees and contractors needs to be vaccinated or undergo a risk assessment in the pre-employment process. Category B Workers are Nurses in roles with an equivalent risk to a non-healthcare workplace, for example, office-based with infrequent or no patient contact - Category B workers do not need to be vaccinated.
Occupational Health Departments, Human Resources and Managers will decide on the suitability of potential applicants via risk assessment and prior to commencing work or training. Recruitment will only proceed if accommodations and/or restrictions can be 'suitably and reasonably managed.'
Nurses and other health care workers are invited to join the Nurses Professional Association of New Zealand (NPANZ) for support in navigating this process. NPANZ is able to provide professional nursing support by New Zealand Nurses, medico-legal support and professional indemnity insurance as part of NZ Unions. Trade Union status is expected soon, and once complete NPANZ will enter into collective bargaining on behalf of members in addition to continuing to support those on individual contracts.
Deborah Cunliffe NZRN (Founder)
NFFNZ Telegram Admins: Kelvin, Wendy, Ann, Simone
Get in touch with our Regional Co-ordinators for regular coffee meet-ups, local events, 1:1 support for health care workers or if you just need to chat.
- NORTHLAND – Kelvin, Telegram: NFFNZ Northland)
- AUCKLAND – Louise, NFFNZSouthAuckland@protonmail.com
- WAIKATO – HEATHER, NFFNZwaikato@proton.me
- BAY OF PLENTY – Anna, email@example.com
- HAWKES BAY – Linda, NFFNZ.firstname.lastname@example.org
- MID CENTRAL – Megan, NFFNZMidCentral@proton.me
- EAST COAST – VACANT
- TARANAKI - VACANT
- WAIRARAPA – Deborah, email@example.com
- WELLINGTON AND HUTT VALLEY – Joarn, NFFNZHuttValley@proton.me
- BOTTOM OF THE SOUTH ISLAND – Donna, NFFNZOtago@protonmail.com
- TOP OF THE SOUTH ISLAND- Wendy, NFFNZGoldenBay@proton.me
NFFNZ Telegram Groups:
Our Telegram groups provide a safe and professional context for clinicians and non-clinicians to connect, share views and news in a meaningful and respectful manner. Posts that undermine our work will be removed
NFFNZ ALTERNATIVE HEALTH SOLUTIONS AOTEAROA CHAT PAGE -
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for private link
- This is our main chat channel and open to clinicians and concerned citizens.
- Chat on this channel is moderated and restricted to evidence based research/chat relevant to NZ only.
THE NURSES COLLECTIVE - NURSES ONLY - Please email for private link