Central Coast nurses and midwives rally against ‘unprecedented’ low staffing levels

Fed up with unreasonable workloads and management delays, Central Coast nurses and midwives will hold rallies this week to voice their frustrations and demand immediate action to resolve dangerous staffing levels at 2 hospitals.

Nurses and midwives from Wyong Hospital will take action TODAY followed by another rally at Gosford Hospital on Wednesday.

Both Gosford and Wyong Hospitals continue to suffer dangerous staffing shortfalls and routinely fail to meet the minimum number of nurses and midwives required on shift.

With each site having approximately 80 vacant nursing and midwifery positions, nurses and midwives have no choice but to regularly work overtime to cover gaps in the roster. Unplanned leave is rarely backfilled, only compounding the risks to patient safety.

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members are deeply concerned the situation will only get worse without urgent intervention.

NSWNMA Wyong Hospital Branch President, Kelly Falconer, said members are exhausted and pushed to the brink.

“Nurses and midwives at Wyong Hospital have been raising concerns about staffing shortages for months but nothing happens,” said Ms Falconer.

“Over 300 staff signed an open letter to the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) Chief Executive seeking to resolve the crisis, but it’s been completely ignored.

“We have a high number of vacancies in our Emergency Department, a limited pool of casuals to call on and overtime has become the norm.”

NSWNMA Gosford Hospital Branch President, Meg Pendrick, said nurses and midwives are routinely being asked to go above and beyond with no staffing reprieve in sight.

“Staffing shortages at Gosford Hospital have risen to unprecedented levels and nothing is being done to fix it,” said Ms Pendrick.

“Nurses and midwives want to give patients the best care in a safe manner, but it becomes very difficult to deliver when we almost always face unreasonable workloads.

“For 22 months, we’ve been working to keep our community safe from COVID-19 and we are not receiving the support from management we need to continue this work.

“Nurses and midwives are resigning because of the dangerous workloads and compromised patient care.”

The NSWNMA’s campaign for nurse-to-patient ratios on every shift and safe staffing levels in maternity units would help to address this issue. Mandated ratios would ensure staffing was adequately linked to the number of patients in a ward, rather than just to the number of beds typically open.

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