A nurses union organiser says DHBs are "scrambling" to ensure staff do not need to be stood down when they come in contact with a Covid-19 case - after three Auckland nurses tested positive this week.
Sarah Barker, New Zealand Nurses Organisation organiser, said the current Covid-19 outbreak has highlighted staffing issues, especially in Auckland.
"There is no way you can do staff bubbles in wards now," she said.
"There's never been any pod rostering or staff bubbles from the beginning of this outbreak, simply because of shortages."
Baker said DHBs are currently "scrambling" to ensure staff do not need to be stood down when they come in contact with a Covid-19 case.
Earlier this week, three staff members who work on a Covid-19 ward at Auckland's North Shore Hospital tested positive for Covid-19.
Staff in Covid-19 wards are double-vaccinated, wear PPE, undergo regular surveillance testing and a health screen at the start of each shift.
While Baker said nurses in the Waitematā DHB are prepared for Covid-19 cases, she believes unknown cases that pop up in hospitals could create issues.
"I think what we are looking at this month, is the unknown positive patients that are going to land in any areas of the hospital that slips through a screening process and then we're going to have pockets of staff who aren't so confident."
"Because then of course you have to see if you can find the staff from other areas to plug those gaps and then you get that sort of fear about going into those [Covid] areas."
Looking towards the next few months, Baker said it is hard to predict the future. While they would like to be prepared, she said staffing shortages make it difficult.
"If the Government wants to win this war on this pandemic there are some things they can do right now in terms of planning for the future."
Baker said possible free degrees for nursing could make the industry more appealing.
"It's not going to fix it tomorrow but in three years' time we might have a whole heap of new graduates."
Minister of Health Andrew Little recently announced changes to MIQ to bring in more healthcare workers from overseas.
But New Zealand Nurses Organisation acting nursing and professional services manager Kate Weston said it would not address the shortages district health boards like Counties Manukau DHB were already facing.