The Federal Government’s ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy to boost immunization rates in the Tweed/Byron region will struggle unless administrative support is guaranteed at the new Byron Central Hospital.
Community nurses who are relocating to the new hospital have expressed concern they may be forced to take on administrative duties following the announcement of plans to amalgamate three health administration officer positions.
And although administration support may be available for the immunization service, this has not been guaranteed.
NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association organizer Darius Altman said the proposed amalgamation of administration staff would add to clinicians’ workloads, taking valuable time from patients and clients.
‘These nurses are trained in community health and shouldn’t be expected to sacrifice valuable face-to-face time with patients to tend to non-nursing duties, such as patient registrations, taking appointment bookings and service enquiries,’ Mr Altman said.
‘These cost-saving measures need to stop. Growing community demand for health services is already putting nurses under a great deal of pressure to deliver a high quality standard of care.
‘Removing direct administrative support for Community Health staff only complicates things and puts patient safety at risk.
‘We understand the need to streamline some services and staffing structures given three sites are being rolled into one but it’s unacceptable to remove designated Community Health administration staff altogether.
‘The Tweed/Byron area also has some of the lowest immunisation rates in Australia and the Byron Community Nursing Service is responsible for actively boosting these numbers.
‘A large part of that work is undertaken by the Nurse Immunisation Coordinator.’
Mr Altman said without admin support, the immunization service would struggle to carry out its functions.
‘The NSWNMA will continue to work with the Byron Shire Community Nurses branch to ensure the new Byron Central Hospital’s Community Health facility, due to open early May this year, can provide a safe and reliable service to the local community.’