Desperate plea for safe staffing in John Hunter Hospital
Distressed about understaffing and widespread deficits, nurses and midwives gathered at the John Hunter Hospital campus and reiterated calls for the NSW government to implement safe nurse-to-patient ratios.
NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members raised ongoing concerns of short staffing across multiple wards and units, and their disappointment at being unable to raise staffing issues with the Health Minister during a recent ‘drop in’ visit.
NSWNMA John Hunter Hospital branch secretary, Rachel Hughes, said too many nurses and midwives were burning out trying to cover roster shortages, prompting them to reduce their working hours.
“Our critical care areas like emergency, maternity, ICU and surgical services still have a number of nursing and midwifery deficits. Staffing vacancies are taking a long time to fill and that’s forcing current staff to work regular double shifts or extra hours,” said Ms Hughes.
“Many shifts are still left short-staffed or run on the goodwill of nurses and midwives to work overtime. The clinical staff are flat out trying to keep up with demand, but the constant reliance on overtime to cover staffing shortfalls is taking a toll.
“It’s not safe for our patients. Nurses and midwives are burning out trying to give patients the care they need. We desperately need safe staffing ratios to ensure our community gets the health care they expect from their public hospital.”
NSWNMA members hope to raise community awareness of the unsafe staffing concerns and encourage locals to demand the NSW government introduce nurse-to-patient ratios in NSW.