Ongoing nursing staff shortages have prompted the temporary closure of a further two beds inside the sub-acute unit in Chisholm Ross Mental Health Unit at Goulburn.
Last Thursday (27 August), Goulburn mental health Branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) resolved to temporarily close the additional two beds as they became available, after nursing staff hours could not be sustained at appropriate levels.
Lead Organiser at the NSWNMA, Linda Griffiths, said the branch had continued to monitor both patient and staffing levels throughout Chisholm Ross and identified that excessive overtime was constantly required to meet patient demand.
“The Branch has been working really hard with local management to address this critical staffing shortage and has acknowledged that a significant recruitment plan is now underway,” said Ms Griffiths.
“That said, the nursing staff at Chisholm Ross still have a professional responsibility to maintain safe patient care and when they identified more than 300 hours of overtime had been required over the past week and a half, they were obligated to take further action.
“The Branch is hopeful they will have the opportunity to meet again with local management early this week to review rostering at Chisholm Ross and ensure the Nursing Hours Per Patient Day legal requirements are being met without excessive overtime.
“In the interim, the Branch will continue to monitor nurse-to-patient ratios in Chisholm Ross and continue delivering high-level care. They want to make sure the community of Goulburn and surrounding areas are aware and are being provided the best possible safe patient care.”
This latest action will bring the total number of temporary bed closures to six in the sub-acute unit in Chisholm Ross.
On 21 August, the Branch and local management originally agreed to the temporary closure of four beds in the sub-acute unit. They also capped the number of available beds in the high dependency unit at six and remained in place.
Ms Griffiths said the Branch was continuing to discuss a range of short and long term solutions to help alleviate the nursing staff shortages at Chisholm Ross, including the 15 full-time equivalent vacancies that had accumulated on the roster.
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