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Nurse stopped from emigrating to New Zealand due to 'morbid obesity'

  • 8 Comments

A British nurse has been denied the chance of emigrating to New Zealand because the country’s government said her 21st weight could cost them thousands in future health costs.

Documents from the country’s Residence Review Board show the 51-year-old, who is not named, was offered a job in a home and hospital for the elderly in a provincial town in New Zealand. She had decided to move there with her husband, a crane driver, and her daughter who planned to work in a shop, after returning from a holiday to the country in 2007.

But medical advisors calculated that with a weight of 21st and height of 5ft 1in, her body mass index (BMI) was 55.2, putting her at a high risk of developing health problems.

The certifying doctor recorded ‘morbid obesity in otherwise well lady’.

Treatment of potential metabolic problems could cost the New Zealand government 25,000 NZ dollars, it was estimated.

Officials said if she reduced her BMI to 40 her application could be reconsidered.

  • 8 Comments

Readers' comments (8)

  • I think NZ has the right approach. At least they have given her the opportunity to take action - even at a BMI of 40 she is has high risk morbidity. Go for it girl..

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  • The NZ immigration authority is quite right, a leaf out of whose book could be used by the NHS and Unison, making BMI a condition for employment.
    bernard sherratt.

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  • New Zealand may be doing her a favour because if she wants to emigrate there she will make an effort to lose the weight which will add years to her life. I wish her all the best and hopes she does it. What a great opportunity!

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  • I think if she can do the job then why not.

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  • I take my hat off to New Zealand authorities, who see mobid obesity as un-acceptable. It is about time that we, whom are employed in the health service knowing obesity is becoming a major problem, address this issue and deem it un-acceptble for nurses to be employed. We must set examples if we are to win over the public and improve health and well being for the future. To see a nurse "waddling" down the ward is not on.

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  • I belive that the NZ govenment are right, it's a great pity we don't have the same rules, it's about time some thing was done not only in NZ but here in the UK too.

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  • I feel that making BMI a condition of job offers would be a difficult issue and BMI doesn't really correlate to the ability to do the job (unless the obesity is so much that it affects movement or there are already health problems, which is a very individual matter). This issue is about immigration and of giving the migrant rights in their adopted country which may have a significant impact on that governments finances - in this case the health budget. This is a reasonable policy for governments to take and they have given the option of looking at her application again if she addresses the issue, which is great. But no, I don't think nursing job offers anywhere should have BMI as a standard criteria.

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  • As a nurse working in New Zealand I can appreciate where Immigration New Zealand are coming from on this matter. New Zealand has a large problem with morbid obesity in both the existing population and recent immigrant population. I would advise this lady to go for it, get on the diet and try her hardest. New Zealand is a fantastic country to work and live in (I have been here 6 years) and she will reap the benefits of her hard work once she gets here.

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