Muswellbrook Hospital Safe Staffing campaign

Filed under Hunter Valley, News ~ by Press on  2 Aug 2012

The people of Muswellbrook are invited to sign the petition at Marketplace Shopping Centre this Saturday or at various local venues.

Petition signing details: Date: Saturday, 4 August 2012.  Time: 9.00am – 12.00noon

Venue: Muswellbrook Marketplace Shopping Centre (opposite Shoe Repair shop)

The Muswellbrook Hospital Safe Staffing campaign is aimed at securing an extra registered nurse (RN) for the emergency department and special care unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It includes lobbying of local politicians and the Local Health District Board, letterboxing and leafleting throughout the town, and a public meeting on 16 August 2012.

Muswellbrook nurses and midwives initially launched a campaign for extra staff in November last year but stopped when a staffing review was announced and some additional hours were provided on the medical surgical ward.

According to a Nurses Association spokesperson, between January and March this year 2045 people attended the Muswellbrook emergency department – an average of more than 20 a day or nearly one every hour. Of these more than 500 presentations were Triage Category 3, involving conditions that were imminently, or potentially, life threatening. More than 300 had to be admitted to Muswellbrook hospital or transferred to another hospital.

NSWNA assistant secretary, Judith Kiejda, said the Muswellbrook nurses were hopeful Mr Souris would take decisive action to secure an extra RN but to date he has not, or responded to the nurses’ request to meet with him.

The nurses are concerned he is listening to hospital management and not them or the wider community. This petition is aimed at sending him a clear message that the people of Muswellbrook support this perfectly reasonable call for an extra RN in the busy emergency department and special care unit.

If both units have patients then patient care is potentially compromised. For example, for the RN to leave a special care cardiac-monitored patient unattended to go to an emergency department patient is actually a breach of protocol. So, under current staffing arrangements, protocol is either breached in that situation or the emergency department goes without the RN.

Back in 2010 a report by the NSW Department of Planning, into the Mt Arthur Coal Consolidation Project, conceded that Muswellbrook health services were ‘already strained and the project would strain these services further’.”

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