Patient blowout crisis

VOICING serious concerns about both patient and staff safety, nurses and midwives gathered for a rally outside Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital’s emergency department (ED) on Thursday.

Gathering in their own time, members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Bankstown-Lidcombe Branch, said they were concerned about the pressure created by increased patient presentations and a lack of nursing support.
NSWNMA general secretary, Brett Holmes, said the emergency department nurses had been understaffed and overworked for some time, despite ongoing attempts to raise the issues with South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD).
“It’s widely known there’s been a rise in the number of patients presenting to the emergency department at Bankstown hospital, including an 11.5 per cent increase in the April-June quarter, yet the same staffing and resourcing issues remain,” he said.
“Our members have been highlighting their concerns through the appropriate reasonable workload channels with hospital management, yet they’re still confronted with these issues day in, day out.
“In a recent meeting with Branch members, hospital management confirmed an emergency department wards person would be hired to order and unpack stock, as well as a night-time cleaner, but there are still nursing vacancies which are contributing to these issues.”
However, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital general manager Peter Rophail said during periods of high demand, the hospital’s ED “is always staffed to ensure our patients’ clinical needs are met”.
He added that the hospital “consistently complies with, and often exceeds”, the minimum staffing level requirements of Nurses’ and Midwives’ (State) Award, and they were “currently recruiting to fill nursing vacancies”.
“We will continue to work with our nurses and midwives as we look for ways to improve our models of care,” he said.