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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

A community petition to protect Murwillumbah Hospital ED

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State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin Saffin says people on the Far North Coast must stand together to convince the Northern NSW Local Health District not to push ahead with its proposed redeployment of Murwillumbah’s nursing shifts to hospitals in Ballina/Byron. Photo Tree Faerie.

A Northern NSW Local Health District proposal to cut nursing shifts at Murwillumbah District Hospital’s Emergency Department will be met with a community petition instigated by Lismore MP Janelle Saffin.

Ms Saffin said nurses and medicos, and the local community were rightly outraged at these cruel and needless cuts. Ms Saffin was in Murwillumbah last Saturday collecting signatures for the petition.

‘It makes no sense to be targeting an emergency department which ranks second-best in the state for patient satisfaction and has a high ranking for meeting all of its clinical key performance indicators,’ said Ms Saffin.

‘Murwillumbah Hospital has a well-functioning, stable and busy ED which retains staff and which the community relies on, and people have serious concerns that these cuts could be the thin edge of the wedge for eventually closing down the hospital.

The Far North Coast must stand together

Ms Saffin said people on the Far North Coast must stand together and make the loudest possible protest to convince the Northern NSW Local Health District not to push ahead with its proposed redeployment of Murwillumbah’s nursing shifts to hospitals in Ballina/Byron.

‘To give the public some idea of how busy Murwillumbah’s ED can get, nurses recently saw 18 patients from 8am to 10am one morning, and to remove a total of 17 nursing hours a day will put incredible pressure on remaining staff.

‘The Murwillumbah branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association has vowed to fight the staff cuts because, like me, they believe that it will make the ED unsafe for our patients and our nurses. Our community deserves much better.’

Ms Saffin called on the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to honour its election commitment to provide the Northern NSW LHD, and specifically the Lismore Electorate, with 280 more nurses and midwives as part of an additional 5000 staff statewide.

‘Where are our extra nurses and midwives? Where are the 32 more doctors, 38 more allied health workers and 50 more hospital support workers promised by the National Party candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin on February 17, 2019?,’ said Ms Saffin.

‘Instead of bolstering our health workforce as promised, we are seeing cost savings being made by stealth and the losers in this grubby exercise are my constituents in Murwillumbah and the Tweed Valley.’

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  1. I worked in local EDs for 29 years. Small hospitals’ EDs have been shown over and over again to be efficient, more so than large central departments. Cottage hospitals in UK had to be reopened as cheaper, beloved by patients and using less car movements to access.


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