The New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) acknowledges the release of the final report into the medical gases incident that led to the tragic outcomes for two babies born at Bankstown Lidcombe Hospital in June and July this year.
Nurses and Midwives at Bankstown and across our membership continue to offer our deepest sympathies to the families of the neonates who have been the victims of an engineering error allowed to happen by inadequate checking and adherence to procedure and governance requirements.
Bankstown Lidcombe Nurses and Midwives have continued to work under significant pressure and public scrutiny throughout the process of the investigation, delivering the highest standard of care they can in the circumstances, particularly noting that there is a sustained shortage of midwives of up to 17 full time equivalents.
“Nurses and Midwives know that there are constant risks to patient outcomes in everything we do. Our health system must be properly resourced with enough staff to promote a culture of patient and staff safety. If we are to have a low risk environment then our governments have to take responsibility for ensuring funding, staffing and culture is right. Budget priorities are often the greatest impediments to getting it right,” said Brett Holmes, NSWNMA General Secretary.
“While I respect the ongoing processes of disciplinary investigations underway, I hope there is a broader look at issues of resourcing at Bankstown Hospital as our members have been raising issues around the non replacement of support staff such as ward clerks, wards persons, cleaners and other non clinical staff, which has been a hallmark of recent management of corporate services.
“The Minister for Health and the Ministry of Health have been diligent in ensuring that the medical gases installation error is a single isolated error by making the testing of every medical gases outlet across NSW Health facilities a high priority, which gives both community and clinicians reassurance that the same situation is not replicated anywhere else. We welcome the reassurance given by the publication of the results.”
The NSWNMA calls on Ministry of Health to take a closer look at staffing across the whole Bankstown Lidcombe Hospital and correct the corporate culture of non replacement of staff both clinical and non clinical.
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