While the state government has been pushing ahead with the new Tweed Valley Hospital site against significant community resistance they have failed to deliver the independent review of the Northern NSW community health services and are leaving local health jobs empty.
The Tweed Community Nurses Branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association and the Health Services Union rallied together yesterday in Tweed calling on the state government to finalise their review that is now nine months past its promised date of release and this is leading to ‘chronic understaffing and job instability’ said Rosalie Scott, Secretary of the Tweed Community Nurses Branch NSW Nurses and Midwives Association yesterday.
The rally highlighted that positions from the mens health nurse to audiometry nurses positions have been left vacant in the last 12 months.
‘We know the Tweed Shire has an increasing population of older men who desperately need this service’ and that ‘our vulnerable Indigenous before-school-age children in our community are on lengthy waiting lists or unable to access this vital services,’ said Ms Scott.
Without the review from the state government being released the northern rivers local health district Community Health Review for community services across Northern NSW can’t be completed. This means that a range of positions on the front line can’t be filled.
‘There are numerous Community Nurse Unit Manager positions across the district that are staffed by short term temporary contracts as a result of this Community Health Review not being released.
‘Community nursing is an Activity Based Funding model. That means that funding is provided by the government for all the service events or encounters that are registered to our clients. When positions are unfilled, and back fill is not provided, our activity for those services with vacancies is low and funding is reflective of that low activity. While this lack of activity and lack of funding continues, the long term sustainability of vital community services is at risk,’ she said.
‘We were led to believe that the review documents would be released by June last year, however, the local health district are still waiting for the Ministry of Health to release their documents. That’s nine months ago now and if this was a pregnancy (and if we were midwives) we might call it an obstructed labour and reach for the forceps!’