Bathurst nurses vote to strike Friday

NSW Nurses & Midwives Association members at Bathurst Base Hospital have today (26 November) voted, in a secret ballot at a special NSWNMA branch meeting, to strike for 24 hours on Friday to protest against the Western NSW Local Health District’s decision to close five beds in the hospital’s medical ward from December 9.

The NSWNMA is also concerned that other vital hospital and health services will be cut in the Bathurst region in the months ahead, as the state Government tries to save money in the local health budget at the expense of those services and the associated nursing and midwifery jobs.

This historic Bathurst nurses and midwives strike will run from 7am Friday, 29 November, until 7am Saturday, 30 November. Night-duty staffing levels will be maintained to handle any emergencies and ensure no patient still in the hospital during the strike is at risk.

The Bathurst nurses and midwives are furious with the inadequate responses they have received from the Western NSW Local Health District over the issue. At today’s branch meeting they also demanded the Health Minister Jillian Skinner appropriately fund the Bathurst Hospital to avoid service cuts and “enable the provision of safe patient care to the community”.

As well as this Friday’s nurses and midwives strike, a major public meeting will be held in Bathurst next Monday night to discuss the downgrading of Bathurst Hospital services.

NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes said this is a major step for the Bathurst Base Hospital nurses and midwives, but they feel they have no choice after the dismissive responses they received from LHD management in the last few days.

“In fact, it is a historic step for Bathurst as nurse and midwife strikes such as this one are extremely rare. It is an indication of just how serious the ongoing uncertainty over Bathurst Hospital and community health services has become.

“I am advised that the local community is also quite concerned about the situation and we expect a big turnout at Monday night’s public meeting. This meeting will discuss the community impact of proposed cuts at the Bathurst Base Hospital. I would like to thank the Panthers Leagues Club for donating their venue for the meeting.

“Every resident of Bathurst and the surrounding region is encouraged to attend. The people of Bathurst deserve answers and an explanation. The people of Bathurst also deserve to have a say and to be listened to by the Western NSW LHD and State Government,” Mr Holmes said.

Bathurst Hospital cuts – public meeting details

Date: Monday, 2 December 2013

Time: 6pm – 8pm

Venue: Panthers Leagues Club, Bathurst

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