Staff shortages widespread at Maitland Hospital

Nurses and midwives will gather in their own time outside Maitland Hospital tomorrow to raise community awareness about ongoing understaffing and patient safety issues in multiple wards and departments.

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Maitland Hospital branch said they were forced to speak publicly, after hospital management failed to acknowledge their concerns or take steps to adequately address them.

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, said the members were fatigued, experiencing burn-out and felt unsupported, despite raising their concerns repeatedly.

“Our Maitland Hospital members are reporting widespread issues, from nurse shortages during nightshift in the emergency department, general medical/surgical patients regularly being treated in the maternity ward, to unsafe staffing in the Acute and Cardiac Observation Unit,” said Ms Kiejda.

“After months of highlighting their concerns through the hospital’s reasonable workload committee, without improvement, our members are understandably extremely disappointed with Hunter New England Local Health District for failing to step in and address the issues.

“There’s an obligation on all parties involved in the reasonable workloads process to canvass all of the issues and make every effort to resolve them promptly, or outline appropriate timeframes and suitable interim measures.

“Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case at Maitland Hospital and now it’s got to the point where the reasonable workload committee has become untenable. Our members have lost confidence in the process and genuinely fear for patients’ safety.

“More issues have begun to surface in other parts of the hospital, while staff continue to be put under enormous pressure. It’s a catalyst for error, or worse, an avoidable incident.

“Hunter New England Local Health District has a duty to the people of Maitland and the Lower Hunter to support its hardworking staff and to ensure they can deliver safe patient care.”

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