Nurses and midwives rally over hospital upgrade delays

Upset nurses and midwives held a one-hour own-time rally today in response to the NSW government’s plan to delay infrastructure upgrades at Muswellbrook Hospital.

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Muswellbrook Hospital branch voted in favour of industrial action via a ballot last Wednesday, however an offer for further consultation from the government saw the industrial action called off. A short public rally highlighted the issues to the local community.

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said members had attempted to escalate concerns to hospital management and the Local Health District to no avail, and called on Health Minister Ryan Park and the Treasurer to intervene and fund the hospital upgrades.

“A combination of delays by the previous government and construction costs rising under inflation means we have a situation where previously allocated health infrastructure spending is now inadequate,” said Mr Whaites.

“As a result, the local community is at risk of not getting new operating suites, a new sterilisation department or adequate maternity space at Muswellbrook Hospital. These are vital upgrades.

“There are questions about ongoing compliance accreditation with the existing theatres, meaning they could be unfit for use at a future date. These matters need to be resolved to the satisfaction of the local community.”

NSWNMA Muswellbrook Hospital branch vice president, Peggy Smith, said if the much-needed hospital upgrades don’t proceed, more than just the local community will suffer.

“Muswellbrook also takes patients from Singleton, Scone, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock hospitals. The lack of theatre services will see wait times in the region increase further. We are also concerned about planned reductions to the available clinical space within the maternity and inpatient units,” said Ms Smith.

“We call on the NSW government to deliver the Muswellbrook Hospital upgrades as planned, together with our colleagues in Gunnedah, Glen Innes and Moree, who have similar concerns about the future of their redevelopments.”

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