Blacktown Hospital fails to fix maternity crisis

Frustrated by Blacktown Hospital management’s delays in following through on its commitments, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) filed a dispute with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission last night.

The NSWNMA has been seeking genuine consultation to address the crisis in the maternity ward and for management to advertise the additional 15 full-time equivalent midwifery roles as they committed to do.

NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, took steps to address the crisis by launching a thorough review in November. But in a meeting last week, Blacktown Hospital management could not provide a report to NSWNMA midwife representatives about the review and are acting as if the midwifery and obstetric issues are unrelated.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said Blacktown Hospital management is failing in its duty of care to staff and the community.

“The NSWNMA wants to participate in meaningful consultation to resolve the crisis,” Mr Holmes said. “But if Blacktown Hospital management won’t carry out its promise of more staff, the unreasonable workloads continue as does the threat to safe patient care.

“When Western Sydney LHD offered to add 15 extra midwives to the roster, we welcomed the move as a step in the right direction. Despite our concerns it will not be enough to address the very high workloads our members currently face.

“The LHD committed to advertising the roles in the week beginning November 30. It’s almost Christmas and still they have not placed an ad for the additional positions.

“Now we are hearing of delays to promised reviews, positions not being backfilled, and excessive overtime.

“Our members at Blacktown Hospital know how critical this situation is and their actions have proved that.

“In order to protect patient safety and in fear that their professional registrations are at risk, nurses and midwives have taken all reasonable steps possible.

“It’s time the Minister intervened again to ensure that this crisis is dealt with and resolved quickly. It shouldn’t be up to midwives to go to the courts to hold their management to account.

“Nurses and midwives at Blacktown deserve better and the Blacktown community deserves better.”

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