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.