Nurses and midwives at Blacktown Hospital walked out in their own time at the conclusion of morning shift, over ongoing concerns for patient safety and a lack of safe staffing levels across the Western Sydney facility.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members highlighted widespread staffing and skill mix issues impacting patient care, along with unreasonable workloads expected of nursing staff in medical and surgical wards, and in the emergency department.
Since December, around 35 skilled nurses have left the emergency department, while over 115 nursing and midwifery staff vacancies currently exist hospital wide.
NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, confirmed unsafe staffing concerns were the subject of a dispute currently before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
“We have held serious concerns about unsafe staffing at Blacktown Hospital for an extended period. We’ve attempted to have these issues addressed by Western Sydney Local Health District, which has resulted in a dispute currently before the IRC,” said Mr Whaites.
“We’re continuing talks with the Local Heath District and Blacktown Hospital management in relation to breaches of the Nurses and Midwives’ Award, and the urgent need to ensure workloads are reasonable.
“A sad reality is these issues could largely be addressed by the NSW government listening to frontline nurses and midwives and introducing shift by shift safe staffing ratios.
“Our members are continuing to advocate for improved patient safety because they care about achieving better patient outcomes and providing the best for their growing communities.
“The lack of transparency around current staffing is profound. It’s causing widespread angst across the health workforce, the longer this government and bureaucrats continue to ignore the issues.
“Our members need to be heard and need action. They need to be able to deliver patient care safely and effectively to the people of Western Sydney. They are committed to raising awareness of the issues until change occurs.”