Kempsey vigil for more ED nurses

Kempsey nurses held a vigil outside the local hospital’s understaffed Emergency Department as part of their ongoing campaign for one extra ED nurse per shift.

Nurses assembled outside the entrance to the ED under an NSWNA banner declaring: ‘Take Care! Stay Safe! Nurses Warn of Understaffed Health Service Ahead’.

They handed visitors pieces of fruit with stickers bearing messages such as ‘One Nurse Short Today’ and ‘Staffed to Budget Not to Patient Care’.

NSWNA Branch Secretary at Kempsey District Hospital, Di Lohman, said the Branch also provided a free pizza lunch to ED staff who are often too busy to take meal breaks.

Di said protesting nurses were visited by Mayor John Bowell, ‘who has been very supportive through the whole campaign’. The vigil gained prominent coverage in local news media.

She said NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt declined to meet a deputation of Kempsey nurses and arranged a meeting with her advisors instead.

‘We were hoping to talk to the Minister and present her with our petition seeking one more RN per shift, but will instead present it to our local MP Andrew Stoner, who is supporting our campaign,’ Di said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the North Coast Area Health Service, Chris Crawford, has commissioned a review of Kempsey ED staffing.

As part of the review, an emergency services Clinical Nurse Consultant from Tweed Heads Base Hospital and a doctor from the Greater Western Area Health Service conducted interviews and inspected the ED and related services.