Tenterfield nurses take to streets over staff cuts

Nurses will gather in their own time this Friday to raise community awareness about unsafe staffing concerns at Tenterfield Hospital and call for the NSW Health Minister to intervene.

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) fear current staffing levels are putting patient safety at risk and will be exacerbated when the hospital’s redeveloped emergency department opens next week.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said the nurses were disappointed by the lack of genuine support from Hunter New England Local Health District to address all of their concerns.

“Understandably, our members are upset the Local Health District has reduced staffing by 33% and subsequently created an unsafe working environment within the hospital,” Mr Holmes said.

“The nursing staff have continued to highlight these concerns for months and management has ignored them. It’s outrageous for an employer as large as Hunter New England Health to treat its own staff in this way.

“Management’s actions are effectively jeopardising the professional obligations of the nursing staff and increasing the likelihood of a critical incident due to poor staffing levels.

“We are calling on the Chief Executive and the Health Minister to increase the daily staff levels to a minimum of three nurses on each shift, or delay the opening of the new emergency department.”

The NSWNMA has continued to make representations to Hunter New England Local Health District on behalf of members following inadequate responses to address the issues.

Nurses will be seeking further community support at Friday’s rally to ensure Tenterfield Hospital is appropriately staffed for patient and nurse safety. A petition is also circulating among local community groups and businesses.

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