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October 20, 2021

Kyogle Hospital security unacceptable: union

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Kyogle Memorial Hospital. File photo
Kyogle Memorial Hospital. File photo

The first two months’ operation of new staff rostering arrangements at Kyogle Memorial Hospital will see 76 shifts undertaken without a single licensed security staff member rostered on, according to the Health Services Union (HSU).

But the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) says the problem is not due to the new rosters but to staff recruitment issues.

Health district ‘stubborn’

HSU NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes said the ‘stubborn approach’ of hospital management to staffing arrangements was ‘putting the continued safety of hospital workers, patients and visitors at risk.’

‘When this new roster was proposed, one of the reasons given by management was to increase security at the hospital. In reality, however, the security coverage has worsened,’ Mr Hayes said.

‘Since the introduction of the new roster on May 8, and on the roster until July 17, there will be a total of 76 shifts with no licensed staff rostered on. This includes 55 day shifts, eight evening shifts and 13 night shifts.’

Mr Hayes said the HSU had previously raised concerns of members at the hospital that the change from 9.5-hour shifts to 8-hour shifts would be unworkable on a number of levels.

‘For parents in particular, the new shift arrangements are having profound personal impacts. We now have a situation where one of our members is taking one day per week as unpaid leave per week in order to fulfil parenting responsibilities.

‘Our members now believe that a 12-hour shift can achieve everything to resolve the issue, while ensuring greater security coverage and allowing employees to achieve decent work-life balance.

‘Previous attempts to resolve this situation have failed, so we call on hospital management and the LHD to address the security issues Kyogle as an urgent priority,’ Mr Hayes said.

‘Short-term’ problem

But Wayne Jones, NNSWLHD Chief Executive, told Echonetdaily that hospital management are ‘working towards increasing the numbers of Wardspeople/Health and Security Assistant (HSA) staff… in line with the revised model of care.’

‘One additional part time HSA position has recently been filled, and recruitment is underway to secure additional, licensed HSAs as required due to short-term employee leave,’ Mr Jones said.

‘Where there is a shortage of appropriately licensed HSA staff, priority is given to rostering available staff onto evening and night shifts, where there is a higher security risk than during the daytime shifts,’ he added.


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