Saturday 23rd August 2008
Last month’s shock closure of the Blue Mountains Hospital maternity unit has distressed expectant mothers and midwives, and is yet another manifestation of the critical staff shortages plaguing NSW hospitals.
Western Sydney Area Health Service gave only five days warning to expectant mothers that they would have to go elsewhere for their births.
One NSWNA member told The Lamp staff had been treated badly and morale was very low.
‘[Management] hasn’t been very nice. It’s no wonder staff won’t stay here. Some of us only found out about the closure from the news.
‘We were told that the General Manager and the Director of Nursing would notify our clients but it’s been dumped back on us. We are spending most of our time on the phone trying to comfort distressed pregnant women – and when the community is angry we cop the brunt of it.
‘We’re actually busier than ever because we’re still running the anti-natal clinic and post-natal care, but now we have to make all these phone calls with limited staff.
‘Since the closure of the birthing unit we’ve been cut back to as little as one midwife on duty.’
The NSWNA has met with the Area committee and is working with the Western Area Cluster Management to attract specialist staff to keep the unit open full-time.