Workloads tool approved for small hospitals

Breakthrough for Bellingen nurses

NSW Health has ruled that the workloads calculation tool can be applied to the medical ward of Bellinger River District Hospital.

The ruling opens the way for nurses in other small – especially rural – hospitals to use the workloads tool to prove the need for extra staff.

As reported in last month’s issue of The Lamp, North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) refused to consider Bellingen’s hospital’s request for more medical ward nurses in October.

The hospital’s Reasonable Workloads Committee had used the workloads tool to calculate that an extra 1.83 FTE nurses were needed.

Six months after receiving the staffing request, NCAHS declared the workloads tool was not applicable to the small (18-bed) medical ward.

After the hospital’s union branch protested, NCAHS sought advice from NSW Health, which last month agreed to install the tool at Bellingen’s medical ward.

Chris Moore, vice president of the NSWNA branch at the hospital, said nurses now expected early action by NCAHS to provide funding for more staff.

‘We are fairly confident that in a short period of time we will see the ward staffed appropriately,’ he said.

‘This decision should encourage other wards in small rural hospitals that are looking to examine their own workloads.’