Nurses from Blacktown Hospital emergency department and surrounding Western Sydney hospitals gathered at the end of night shift at 7:30am to call for safety improvements to be expedited to ensure all staff feel safe in the workplace and highlight the need for nurse-to-patient ratios.
NSWNMA members at Blacktown, Cumberland and Westmead hospitals highlighted grave concerns following a serious violent incident in Blacktown emergency department two weeks ago.
During night shift, an emergency nurse was allegedly threatened and chased by a patient with a syringe inside the department, after a doctor was allegedly assaulted. Access to personal duress alarms were limited at the time and a fixed duress alarm was not operational. Fortunately, NSW Police were onsite and able to assist staff.
NSWNMA Blacktown Hospital branch member and ED nurse, Jason Temu highlighted the importance of mandated ratios of 1:3 in ED and better safety measures in the ED department.
“We’re advocating for safer staffing levels and for increased safety within our department.”
Jason also spoke about the increased safety risk presented to ED nurses at Blacktown Hospital:
“There’s always an increased risk within our department and treating patients with behavioural challenges, but the staff are only human as well and we’re highlighting their concerns for safety.”
Michael Whaites, NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary said:
“We’ve got a situation here [at Blacktown] where the duress systems have been shown not to be working. We’ve got members here from Auburn, Westmead and Cumberland and we’re hearing similar stories that the duress systems just aren’t up to scratch.”
Blacktown Hospital branch members raised concerns about the adequacy of safety systems with Western Sydney Local Health District and sought urgent action to address the issues raised by emergency staff.