Coronavirus: Retired doctors and nurses wanted back on the job

Health officials are looking at options to bolster the workforce in the face of Covid-19, including bringing in recently-retired doctors and nurses.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said planning was already well underway in case extra staff were needed across the health system.

That included talking to both the Medical Council and the Nursing Council about ways to speed up the re-certification process, to allow recently-retired doctors and nurses to get back on the job, if they were required down the track.

The Nurses Organisation said that was a sensible idea.

Associate professional services manager Hilary Graham-Smith said they would be well-equipped to help, given their recent clinical experience.

She said forward-planning was important, especially as winter approached.

"If COVID-19 collides with the flu season, then we are going to see a system under significant pressure and staffing will be an issue."

However, she said the health system was not yet at a crisis point.

More staff were already being recruited as Healthline continued to experience high demand.