After five hours of deliberations in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) last night, more than 150 nurses and midwives have been sent back to work inside Blacktown Hospital.
Orders were served against the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) and its members around 10.30pm for the strike action to end.
Pushed to the brink by management inaction amid serious safety concerns across the hospital’s maternity services, nurses and midwives voted at 4pm yesterday to walk out for 24 hours, and demand staffing is increased to safe levels.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said Western Sydney Local Health District had known the extent of the concerns raised by NSWNMA members for some time and failed to act, resulting in yesterday’s extraordinary walk out.
“The widespread problems at Blacktown Hospital have been well known by hospital management, yet they continued to exploit the goodwill of nurses and midwives and ignore the dire situation that is rife within maternity services,” said Mr Holmes.
“Our members felt compelled to speak out and demand safe levels of patient care is restored across the hospital urgently.
“After working understaffed for so long, these midwives are traumatised, exhausted and burning out. Working with a safe level of staffing is vital for delivering the best health outcomes for patients, as well as the staff.
“Our members refused to continue working in unsafe conditions or an environment that puts their professional registrations at risk.
“This situation urgently needs attention to make sure trust and confidence between hospital management and all the staff can be restored.
“We are therefore calling on the Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, to intervene and ensure adequate midwifery staffing and resources are expedited to Blacktown Hospital’s maternity services.
“Under order by the IRC, our members have returned to work, back into a dire situation that management at Blacktown Hospital can no longer ignore.
“The Blacktown community deserves access to safe patient care at their hospital and should demand nothing less.”