Community forum to discuss health in Tenterfield

Community members are being invited to attend a public forum tomorrow afternoon to discuss issues impacting Tenterfield Hospital, including ongoing unsafe staffing concerns.

Tenterfield Shire Council confirmed the community forum would proceed after consulting with fire authorities on the nearby bushfires at Legume, Drake and Tabulam.

Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty and Lismore MP Janelle Saffin are supporting the community forum and have encouraged residents to attend to offer feedback.

A community rally last month attracted 200 people, while members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) launched a local petition seeking improved staffing and called on the NSW Health Minister to intervene.

NSWNMA Organiser, Jo-Anne McKeough, said members fear current staffing levels are still putting patient safety at risk.

“The local nurses are extremely disappointed by the lack of support from Hunter New England Local Health District,” Ms Keough said.

“Since first raising concerns about an unexpected 33% reduction in staffing, there’s been little reprieve for the remaining nursing staff. They’re becoming fatigued, working extra shifts and overtime to cover the shortfalls.

“We’ve been calling on the Chief Executive of Hunter New England Health and the Health Minister to increase the daily staff levels to a minimum of three nurses on each shift.

“Hunter New England Health has a responsibility to the people of Tenterfield and the surrounding areas to ensure their local public hospital is adequately staffed and patient safety is guaranteed.

“Hunter New England Health has been invited and we’re hopefully they will be forthcoming with details about improving current staffing levels and ensuring safe patient care to the local community.”

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