Unsafe staffing prompts walk out by Maitland nurses

Fatigued and frustrated by understaffing issues, a group of local nurses and midwives held a one-hour own-time rally outside Maitland Hospital at Metford. 

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Maitland Hospital branch voted in favour of the walk out earlier this month, to highlight the ongoing staffing concerns to the Lower Hunter community. 

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said the walk out would involve nursing staff at the end of night shift, joined by others on their rostered day off and community supporters. 

“This is a long-standing issue for our members at Maitland Hospital. They have raised concerns with management several times this year over critical staffing shortages and the lack of like-for-like replacements,” said Mr Whaites. 

“If registered or enrolled nurses are not available, they are being replaced by less experienced Assistants in Nursing, at times leading to new graduate nurses being left in charge on some of the wards, creating untenable workloads, stress and anxiety across the remaining staff. 

“It’s a serious concern and puts patient safety at risk.” 

NSWNMA members raised community awareness of the issues during the one-hour own-time rally. There was no impact on hospital services during the event. 

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