Staffing issues resolved at new Bega hospital

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has successfully negotiated minimum staffing requirements at the new South East Regional Hospital in Bega, just two weeks out from its opening on 8 March.

Current Bega Hospital staff voiced concerns about insufficient recruitment numbers at the new facility, given the increase in size and services. The majority of issues were resolved this afternoon after a month of negotiations.

Organiser at the NSWNMA, Nola Scilinato, said members were unwilling to compromise safe staffing levels.

“Our branch members were extremely concerned that staffing numbers for the move were insufficient and particularly inadequate once bed numbers start to increase,” Ms Scilinato said.

“We put forward a resolution on behalf of our local members this week to the Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) management to increase the minimum staffing in the emergency department, high dependency unit, maternity ward and paediatrics. There will be a review of Staffing in ED and maternity after three months to determine how the hospital is managing post the transfer.

“We’re very pleased the SNSWLHD took our members’ feedback on board to meet our requests in a timely matter and acknowledge the hard work of the Local Health District in the commissioning of a new hospital.

“It’s extremely important to agree on these requirements in order to transfer to the new South East Regional Hospital and ensure the safety of staff and the community,” said Ms Scilinato.

Outstanding concerns around staffing of the high dependency unit are expected to be addressed within the week.

The NSWNMA will ensure the agreed changes are implemented and will seek a review of the staffing arrangements in a further three months to make sure there are no implications to patient or staff safety.

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