Local nurses have raised concerns over impacts on patient safety following attempts by Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) to reduce nursing staff hours at Nimbin Multi Purpose Service (MPS) from next Monday, 8 December 2014.
Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) fear patient safety will be compromised if the NNSWLHD introduces a new roster for nursing staff at Nimbin MPS resulting in eight staff hours being cut from the morning shift each weekday.
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said any move by NNSWLHD management to slash nursing staff shifts under the guise of ‘new models of care’ was disingenuous and would put additional pressure on other nursing staff, particularly across the busy holiday season.
“Our members are devastated that management wants to implement these changes, claiming they will improve service delivery and efficiency, when the fact is such changes would impact on the remaining nursing staff and their patients’ care,” Mr Holmes said.
“Relying on a rostered Nurse Manager as a back-up plan is also unacceptable, especially when they are often the only manager on-site for the entire facility while other senior managers commute between Nimbin, Kyogle and Urbenville sites.”
The NSWNMA had suggested NNSWLHD management trial a wound clinic across the week to assist with the large number of regular presentations at Nimbin MPS before making changes to nursing staff hours, however, the suggestion was rejected.
NSWNMA Member Organiser, Nola Scilinato, said NNSWLHD management had not taken into consideration the acuity of some patients, instead had based the proposed staffing levels on other health services’ benchmarks.
“It’s unconscionable that management would press ahead with its plan to cut nursing staff hours when Nimbin MPS has three times the number of presentations compared to other MPSs of similar size and attracts a greater proportion of tourists during the holidays,” Ms Scilinato said.
“Cutting back nursing hours is not the answer for Northern NSW, especially when the state government claims that its top priority is putting patient safety first – this is the complete opposite.”
The NSWNMA supports the actions of local nurses and has filed a dispute in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on behalf of Nimbin MPS Branch members in relation to the staffing issue.
Local residents will have the opportunity to get behind the nurses and voice their concerns by signing a petition that will be presented to NNSWLHD management.
NB: Members of the NSWNMA will have copies of a petition available for local residents to sign at the front of the Post Office in Cullen Street, Wednesday 3 December 2014, during Market Day.