Staffing issues at Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital are progressing following ongoing discussions between NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) branch members and Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).
After a meeting yesterday, NSWNMA branch members came to an agreement with management to implement a trial usage of the surge beds, which will be reviewed in two weeks. Rather than shutting all 19 beds, a branch executive will attend a daily ‘huddle’ meeting with the designated management team to discuss the projected use of surge beds for that day. Beds will only be opened when there is safe staffing rostered for the next 48 hours.
Additionally, there will be an after-hours roster whereby a member of the NSWNMA branch executive will be ‘on call’ and available to liaise with management to determine surge bed usage should there be any concerns raised by staff.
From Monday, 18 July, domestic staff will be responsible for cleaning all beds, including discharges and transfers. Nurses will be required to stack waste and dirty linen bags in their unit’s dirty utility room on the provided trolley. Full time domestic staff will then need to be contacted to have this removed. The branch is developing a flowchart to ensure members are aware of this process. The trial will be reviewed in two weeks.
Judith Kiejda, Assistant General Secretary of the NSWNMA said nurses and midwives at the hospital were pleased to see some progress in a plan to better manage staffing shortages.
“Our members have shown they are willing to work with management to resolve the staffing issues. We’re pleased to see productive communication has finally led to a compromise that will hopefully relieve some of the stress on nurses and midwives and provide the community with the level of care they deserve,” Ms Kiejda said.
“We have also advised members to think carefully when accepting overtime shifts, as currently the use of surge beds is heavily dependent on overtime being worked. Not only does this have an effect on their fatigue levels, it may also impact on their ability to provide safe patient care.”
The NSWNMA will monitor the trial through the branch executive and return to the hospital in the coming weeks to review its effectiveness.
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