Fiji carers offer relief to Busselton aged care home Capecare, amid healthcare worker shortage

Welcome: Uaranisese Salawaqa, Merelita Marama Degei, Tupou Dilagi Naikidi, Vika Lua Dakai, Tamarisi Tinai and Mereani Yabaki Lomani.
Welcome: Uaranisese Salawaqa, Merelita Marama Degei, Tupou Dilagi Naikidi, Vika Lua Dakai, Tamarisi Tinai and Mereani Yabaki Lomani.

A Busselton aged care home welcomed six new carers from Fiji to its staff, as the region combats a long-term shortage of healthcare workers.

Aged care home Capecare brought in the new carers to fill staffing gaps made worse by the need for some workers to isolate as COVID-19 close contacts.

Staff threw an 'Aussie' barbecue lunch to welcome the new team members on their first day, and to let them get to know the rest of the team.

"We are so thrilled to welcome Lita, Mani, Vara, Tama, Dee and Viki to our team," Capecare chief executive Joanne Penman said.

The South Pacific carers are set to work at Capecare for three years with annual visits home, and are currently living on-site.

It follows a recent announcement by Capecare that it would provide some of its rooms as free staff accommodation, to attract healthcare workers to the region.

Capecare secured the new workers with the help of staffing company HealthX, which employed the new staff under the the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme (PALM).

The arrival of the new carers follows that of a HealthX Registered Nurse who joined Capecare in early February, with Ms Penman confirming more registered nurses would soon arrive.

"We will soon welcome a second HealthX Registered Nurse to our team who is from Singapore, and will have a third join us by the end of this month," she said.

HealthX chief executive Carollyne Palling said labour market testing confirmed that the positions could not be filled with local workers.