Albury nurses raise concerns following removal of CCTV cameras

Patient and staff safety inside Albury Base Hospital’s mental health unit could be put at risk, following the removal of CCTV cameras within a locked high dependency unit.

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Nolan House branch have highlighted concerns with Albury Wodonga Health and are now considering their industrial options after the CCTV equipment was removed at the demand of the Victorian Chief Psychiatrist.

NSWNMA Acting General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, said members had called for the CCTV cameras to remain in place until a full consultation process occurred with all staff.

“This decision has been made by the Chief Psychiatrist of Victoria, who has not visited Nolan House or spoken to the staff directly,” said Ms Kiejda.

“We appreciate there is a memorandum of understating regarding oversight for mental health services delivered by Albury Wodonga Health in NSW, regardless, due process must be afforded to the nursing staff who are working in this facility.

“The decision also fails to consider the professional opinion of the experienced nurses caring for patients in the high dependency unit.

“The CCTV cameras were originally installed within Nolan House as a result of two separate coroner’s recommendations.

“Given this is a mixed locked mental health unit, the layout has the potential to expose both patients and staff at risk of sexual assault, with blind spots and no direct line of view from the nurses’ area.

“Our members have repeatedly asked local management to work with them on reaching an amicable outcome on this issue. Understandably, they are disappointed the current risks to staff and patient safety have not been acknowledged or addressed.”

The NSWNMA is currently investigating the industrial options available to members within Nolan House and is writing to local management to arrange a meeting with the Chief Psychiatrist of Victoria and decision makers about this safety issue.

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