The people who do this are called sterilizing technicians. They make up one of 70 health professions dubbed ‘the invisible workforce’. And they say they are in crisis.
It’s been well publicised: over 10,000 of New Zealand’s health workers from 70 different professions – including sterilizing technicians - are on strike.
Monique Ethier is a sterilizing technician here in Christchurch. She says her team are overstretched, underpaid, and struggling to keep up with the workload.
“We are currently understaffed by 10 people… In the past two years we’ve employed 12 staff, and we’ve lost 18 - and this is nothing to do with mandates.”
She says last month six new staff had their pay increased just to meet the minimum wage.
“I think it's pretty appalling for a person who’s employed to perform a life preserving service at a Government Hospital.”