Union lashes out at Northern Beaches Hospital

Published:
27/11/2020

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has hit out at Northern Beaches Hospital provider Healthscope, claiming it has slashed nurses’ hours, break times and staffing requirements.

NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes has alleged the private operator is cutting minimum nursing hours and attempting to remove minimum nurse numbers at the local hospital. 

He also says union members have reported missing breaks within their shifts since elective surgery has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels.

“Healthscope is refusing a ten-hour break between shifts for nurses and midwives, which aims to keep patients safe by reducing fatigue among the staff,” Mr Holmes says.

“Research tells us that reducing the numbers of qualified nursing hours leads to poorer patient outcomes.

“This could mean less nurses, working more fatigued across the hospital.”

The union says it is also concerned by claims Healthscope is stripping back working conditions, including maternity and carers leave.

In a statement to Peninsula Living, Healthscope revealed it is working with the NSWNMA to negotiate a new enterprise agreement for nursing staff across all of its NSW hospitals, including Northern Beaches.

It says under the new agreement, nurses and midwives that have joined the hospital from the former Manly and Mona Vale public hospitals will see their pay increase by two per cent over two years.

“We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair and reasonable and that values the work that nurses and midwives do every day,” a spokesperson says.

“We will never compromise the high quality of care and will always ensure adequate staff levels are maintained.

“In relation to shift breaks and other conditions, Healthscope is continuing to discuss the conditions to be included in the next EBA (enterprise agreement) with a view to achieving fair and common working conditions across its NSW hospitals.”

Author:
Stephanie Aikins

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