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May 7, 2021

The Chief Executive responds on the BCH story

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Wayne Jones – Chief Executive, Northern NSW Local Health District

I’m writing in regard to the article online and in print on 9 October which concerns the Byron Central Hospital.

This article only serves to undermine the great work our health workers do every day to care for our residents and help our community achieve better health outcomes.

I can assure the public that our management team is focussed on steering our organisation to deliver excellent health care and ensuring we uphold standards which the public expect and deserve.

We take very seriously the responsibility to investigate issues brought to our attention and act appropriately to manage those issues. As a public health agency, we are required to follow guidelines and policies which govern how we conduct any investigation and how we deal with allegations of misconduct or performance.

We have recently referred a matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

We stand by our position that we do not report information to the public or to other staff about any staff investigations, and it is not correct to suggest that a lack of public information is evidence that an investigation has failed, or that disciplinary processes are not being followed.

A staff member’s role or rank makes absolutely no difference to our investigation processes or any actions arising out of such a process.

We also reject the suggestion in this article that management has or is knowingly allowing misuse of taxpayers’ money. As we have previously stated to your publication, NNSWLHD recovers any staff overpayments or funds found to have been received.

The allegation that security staff rosters have been left unfilled as a result of any investigation is also incorrect. Security rosters are regularly filled through a combination of full time, part time, and contracted security personnel according to rostered schedules and staff availability.

We are committed to supporting our staff and providing a welcoming work environment. We have a District-wide Learning and Development Service which is actively examining culture and staff matters, including targeted intervention for anti-bullying and harassment. In addition, our District-wide Culture Committee also plays a role in leading programs and changes that help foster a safe and friendly workplace culture.

We look forward to continuing to work with the wonderful staff at Byron Central Hospital to provide excellent health care to our community, and encourage you to join us.

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