The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has backed calls by community group, One New Eurobodalla hospital (ONE), for a review of staffing and health services proposed at the region’s only public hospital.
NSWNMA members at Batemans Bay and Moruya fear the NSW government’s current hospital proposal will be inadequate to meet demand or the predicted population growth of the Eurobodalla and surrounding areas.
Speaking at ONE group’s petition event, NSWNMA Organiser, Pippa Watts, said many locals were concerned the new build, earmarked for a greenfield site in south Moruya, would result in a downgrading of health services after Batemans Bay and Moruya Hospitals close.
“We’ve been speaking with our local members and there are serious concerns about adequate staffing levels, not to mention issues with the clinical services plan, meaning what health services will or won’t be available at the new hospital,” said Mrs Watts.
“Our members have long supported a new, purpose-built public hospital for this region, but any reduction in services would be extremely detrimental to the future health and wellbeing of the Eurobodalla. We can’t standby and let that happen.
“Community consultation on this project has been drawn out and there’s a lot of angst among health staff about job security, given we’re seeing two public hospitals (Batemans Bay and Moruya) being consolidated into a single site.
“The NSW government has form in neglecting the needs of rural and regional public hospitals and like many local communities, we are fed up seeing this occur year after year.
“Investment in health infrastructure is important, but those bricks and mortar are of little use to the community without enough highly-skilled health staff keeping the hospital doors open. We note the new Premier’s acknowledgement of this and would welcome further discussions.
“We support ONE group’s petition and calls for an urgent review of health services and the staffing profile being planned for the hospital.
“A better outcome for the Eurobodalla region would be the implementation of nurse-to-patient ratios at their new facility.”
The NSWNMA’s campaign for nurse-to-patient ratios on every shift and safe staffing levels in maternity units would help to address these local concerns.