200 rally in Tenterfield over staffing cuts

Two hundred community members gathered in Bruxner Park in Tenterfield on August 9 to support nurses who are protesting unsafe staffing levels at Tenterfield Hospital’s redeveloped emergency department.

In far north NSW, Tenterfield services farming, forestry and mining industries where injuries are common, but the Hunter New England LHD has cut nursing levels in the new emergency department from three to two nurses rostered per shift.

After the NSWNMA raised concerns about patient safety, the LHD offered an additional rostered nurse for the 11am to 7.30pm daytime shift, but the Association says that does nothing to help cover cases that present in the early morning or after 7pm.

Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda, said: “The LHD has a duty of care to ensure the hospital is safely and appropriately staffed at all times.”

“Unless a modest increase in nursing staff occurs quickly, nurses will be forced to work in isolation, with no capacity for relief or assistance if two nurses are required for a medical procedure.

“Covertly cutting frontline nursing staff in a small country hospital is completely at odds with what the Berejiklian government promised constituents at the March state election.

 “The HNELHD just announcing a $1.4 billion investment in hospital upgrades. It can afford two extra nurses and 80 hours of care.”

Local MP Janelle Saffin backed the Association’s call for safe staff numbers.

“The Liberal-National Government gave a commitment to deliver 8300 more frontline staff with 5000 of them being nurses and midwives, to public hospitals in NSW. Well they can start in Tenterfield.”