Management at the Lismore Base Hospital are hoping to save money by closing up to 58 beds during the busy Christmas period.
A leaked document from a meeting held in October, obtained by Echonetdaily, outlines the proposed closures.
If they go ahead, thirty beds in the C7 Acute Aged Care/General Medical ward would close from tomorrow, Friday 22 December, until 22 January, 2018.
A further 28 beds would close in the medical/surgical short stay ward from tomorrow until 2 January, 2018.
Also, there would be a push to send staff with excess annual leave on holiday during the period.
According to sources, the bed closures would remove about 40 per cent of the usable general adult beds at the hospital.
Medical staff who spoke with Echonetdaily said they wanted it known that the management was proposing the bed closures despite concerns they would leave the hospital unable to adequately deal with the Christmas period.
Also, the closure of beds in the C7 ward would remove up to eight monitored beds, which are used for heart attack and stroke patients, from the mix.
Staff are also wondering why beds are being closed at the Lismore Base Hospital but not at the Tweed District Hospital.
Echonetdaily has contacted the media unit of the Northern NSW Local Health District for comment on the proposed closures.
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones denied the bed closures would impact on services.
‘All hospitals throughout Northern NSW Local Health District, including Lismore Base Hospital, will remain open for emergency presentations and surgery during the Christmas and New Year period,’ he said.
‘Lismore Base Hospital’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours, seven days a week throughout the year, including all public holidays.
‘Christmas is a time when staff and the community like to be able to spend time with their family and friends where possible. Therefore, some reduction in nonessential activity has been planned over this period as part of routine holiday management.
‘NNSWLHD has undertaken considerable planning for the summer period, including Christmas and New Year. This includes using predictive data based on hospital figures, and reviewing 2016 Christmas activity.
‘As a result of our planning and analysis, Lismore Base Hospital will have even greater capacity over this year’s Christmas period compared to the same period last year.
‘Furthermore, additional nursing staff have been rostered to the relieving pool so beds can be opened during this period, if required.