LAST minute negotiations between the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association and NSW Health staved off a potential protest rally by staff at Auburn Hospital last week.
Concerns were raised about the closure of 20 beds in the surgical ward at the end of March, however a spokesperson for the union said they came to an understanding with the hospital's executive which has been given until June 30 to fully reopen the wards.
While not confirming the closures, acting general manager Westmead and Auburn Hospitals, Sue Anne Redmond said for many years, NSW Health allowed hospitals to "reduce some non-essential elective surgery over holiday periods" while ensuring emergency and urgent surgery continues unaffected.
"This policy allows management to stagger staff leave in holiday periods, giving doctors and nurses a well-deserved break with their families," she said.
"Auburn Hospital is one of NSW's best hospitals for elective surgery performance."
"Surgical services at Auburn Hospital are expanding and from July, we will be introducing orthopaedic services for elective joint replacement. We will also be opening additional beds in preparation for the winter period."
However Opposition Leader and State MP for Auburn Luke Foley said it was a sign that the State's health system was under-resourced.
"The State Government can find more than $2 billion for its stadiums but won't spend the money to keep Auburn Hospital's surgical ward open," he said.
"We haven't even hit the flu season and yet this government is cutting back on resources for our hospitals.
"Premier Berejiklian has got the wrong priorities: Our hospitals and the health of Auburn is a much higher priority than knocking down and building a new stadium in the Sydney's Eastern Suburbs."