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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Nurses fear for patient safety at new Byron hospital

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Nurses at Byron Bay’s new hospital say they hold grave fears for the safety of patients due to lack of staff, and have warned of industrial action if their concerns aren’t addressed.

At a combined meeting of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) and members from the Mullumbimby War Memorial and District and Byron District Hospital branches, it was unanimously agreed to go public with their concerns.

NSWNMA general secretary, Brett Holmes, said ‘the facade and physical resourcing of Byron Central Hospital would lead the community to believe that it is a state of the art hospital equipped to provide safe effective patient care but the branches believe the community has been misled’.

‘There is one vital ingredient missing – adequate nursing staff levels,’ Mr Holmes said.

‘The clear mismatch between nursing staff and patient numbers does not provide safe care for the number and complexity of the patients admitted,’ he said.

‘Nursing staff are stressed, exhausted, frustrated and extremely concerned about patients missing care.

‘These concerns have been voiced to management with no acknowledgement or action to address the issues.’

Mr Holmes said the nurses ‘needed community support to help highlight the issues and improve the situation’.

‘We’re calling on the public to send a message to the Baird government that ignoring their right to safe patient care is completely unacceptable,’ he said.

‘The nursing staff, therefore, have no alternative but to request community support to increase staffing levels in all areas of Byron Central Hospital so that they can do what they do best – provide safe, effective nursing care for their communities.’

The branches will meet again early next month and have threatened ‘escalated industrial action to protect the community’ if the state health authority or hospital management failed to respond to their concerns.

Echonetdaily has sought comment from the Northern NSW Local Health District.


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  1. I fully support the nurses of Byron Hospital – they need more staff ASAP. My Mum just had a week long stay in the hospital and while the new facilities were a very welcome relief I must say the staff were stressed to the max every time I saw them. While they took very good care of my Mum, I did notice pills didn’t arrive on time, showering was a bit random and the ding dong bells going all the time (patients requesting nurse assistance) were maddening and heavens knows how patients can recoup with that noise going all day and it must put nurses on edge too. Hopefully the cafe gets sorted too and is open on the weekends because as a visitor it’s a bit tough not being able to get a cuppa! Please support our nurses who do such amazing work when we are all at our most vulnerable and sick. Bless them.

  2. I have heard the ratios of nurses to patients is outrageous – 1 nurse to 18-27 patients! What a way to treat our wonderful dedicated nurses. They were quick to close our lovely little hospitals to create something that doesn’t work. My friends just go to Tweed now – they have given up expecting anything from Byron Bay’s hospital.

  3. Going public and possibly getting help from the alternative pressure and lobby groups like Getup is wise.
    It certainly seems that it is time to return to good strong workers Unions to stand up to spin and lies from shonky self serving governance.
    Its not good enough just to have pretty buildings.
    Full support to the nursing and hospital staff for telling it like it is.
    People power is the way to go in Australia.

  4. The most vulnerable in our community are at risk-come on Mr Baird do the right thing for a change and save precious lives!!

  5. Don’t put it here write to the health minister. let HIM know that this is a travesty. Not enough staff, no helicopter pad nor operating theater. we have a STATE OF THE ART baby sitting hospital nothing more. How dare they do this to us, and then turn around and sell our coast as THE place to come. We are going to be hit with all the cases from Splendour In the Grass how are the staff and hospital going to cope with this overload ………MORE NURSES NOW MINISTER………….

  6. That is why after 30yrs of nursing I left my profession I loved.
    I fully support the nurses.
    My sister had a knee replacement years ago in a private NSW hospital. By the time I got to see her on the second morning at 8am she was frantic as no one answered her bell and she badly needed a pee. Hospitals all over are understaffed.

  7. It is imperative that the State Govt. give support to the nurses at Byron Hospital. These people are the most caring generous people that we have in society and when one is in need of support they are like Angels appearing …but once again I stress our Angels NEED support.

    Yes Byron has a new Hospital but it needs to totally address the management plan of staff/nursing/patient ratios. In view of the fact that both former Hospitals: Byron and Mullumbimby have closed it makes one ponder whether the maxim “Small is beautiful” is/was more appropriate for the sprawl of the region.

    The community will no doubt do all it can to support the remarkable, brave and caring nurses. Hard to believe that a realistic management plan was not implemented before the opening of the hospital….

    Mr. Baird wake up to the difficulties experienced in the northern regions. Healthcare is a national responsibility!

  8. North Coast area health service failures are a product of the poor management that exists. Health Australia wide has become a slush fund for all that work within it, and everyone wants their slice. The real problem is the widening gap in our society of “have” and “have nots” and it all comes together in the health sector. So glad to be out of that system after nearly 40 years of it, but honestly the patients and the pay made it worthwhile nothing else!


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