Nurses at Middlemore Hospital say they are facing burnout and worry about putting patients at risk due to a staff shortage as the hospital tries to fill more than 200 full-time nursing positions.

Their experience is echoed by nurses around the country, as a national nursing "crisis" is exacerbated by a rise in emergency department presentations.

Ambulances had to be diverted to Auckland Hospital last month when 16 Middlemore nurses rang in sick, sparking suggestions the army should be brought in to provide cover.

Counties Manukau DHB accepts nurses are distressed but says staff levels are improving. Vacancies are down

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