Union input delivers a safer, better facility

A new residential facility for people with behavioural and other problems will be safer and more efficient thanks to union input.

Due to open this month, the Damara facility at metro will house six residents who have problems living in the community.

Damara is the centre of an integrated service backed by the NSW health and housing departments and other stakeholders.

Patients will live in for three months, followed by 15 months where they will be supported in the community.

The design and refurbishment of the facility was altered substantially after NSWNA input, including an OHS inspection.

And the facility will be staffed solely by nurses – a change from an initial management proposal for mixed staffing.

Geoff Tyson, Assistant Secretary of NSWNA Rydalmere Branch, said that the union had been invited to look at proposals early in the planning process.

‘I appreciate the (health) department bringing us in on the ground floor,’ said Geoff.

‘We were able to identify some key problems and most of these have now been addressed. One outstanding issue is staff numbers. NSWNA members want four nurses per shift.

‘You need four people for a safe restraint,’ said Geoff, ‘and that is a forseeable risk at this facility.’