St Vincent’s redundancy plan could threaten patient safety

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has sought clarification from management at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, following confirmation a voluntary redundancy program is being rolled out across St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney.

Acting General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Judith Kiejda, said she wanted to ensure any offers of redundancy do not reduce skill mix levels across a number of wards and units, putting additional strain on the nursing staff who remain.

“We were abruptly notified St Vincent’s was calling Expressions of Interest for voluntary redundancies across all staff categories just moments before a memo was sent to all staff last Thursday,” Ms Kiejda said.

“We acknowledge St Vincent’s Hospital is facing some serious budgetary issues however, any plan to resolve these problems must not impede the clinical needs of the health service being provided to the local community.

“It is widely recognised that experienced nurses are integral in holding our public health system together and retention of this experience is essential as new graduates build their experience in a clinical setting.

“Following an extremely busy period last winter, coupled with the abrupt widespread bed closures over the recent Christmas holiday season, the already low morale among many of the nursing staff at St Vincent’s has been dealt another blow with these voluntary redundancies.”

Ms Kiejda said the NSWNMA was not opposed to voluntary redundancies when appropriate, but reiterated concern the process could result in increased clinical workloads for the remaining nursing staff.

“Losing our most experienced nurses is not an option when searching for solutions to budget shortfalls,” said Ms Kiejda.

“We’re seeking assurances from St Vincent’s management that senior nursing staff in charge of wards and units are extended input into the voluntary redundancy process, given the effects will vary according the staffing situation on individual wards and units.”

The NSWNMA confirmed it was offering industrial advice to members currently employed at St Vincent’s Hospital and would continue to seek to be involved in any consultation process as more details were provided by management.

Download this media release: St Vincent’s redundancy plan could threaten patient safety

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