Hospitals join forces
DORRIGO and Bellingen nurses have voted to join nurses at Coffs Harbour Health Campus, Grafton and Port Macquarie Base Hospitals in supporting a planned eight-hour strike on Wednesday, May 11.
Macksville Hospital nurses were also due to meet and vote yesterday.
Public hospital nurses right across NSW are supporting the statewide strike as part of their campaign for a four per cent pay rise in line with other health workers and public servants.
A spokesman for the North Coast Area Health Service said preparations were being planned across the Area Health Service to cope with the strike, but it was early days yet and there was still a prospect that the strike would not go ahead, depending on negotiations.
A senior Coffs Coast nurse said if the strike went ahead, nurses would provide minimal levels of staffing to maintain patient care, but elective surgery was likely to be affected.
The secretary of the Coffs Harbour Health Campus branch of the NSWNA, Marilyn Body, said the last strike by nurses had been at the old hospital, more than three years ago. The new Coffs Harbour Health Campus was opened in late 2001.
A compulsory conciliation conference was held between the State Government and the NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on Thursday before Justice Boland and another IRC conference will be held at 10am on Monday to review the progress of the recommended negotiations.
At this time the IRC will review the Goverment's request for a recommendation calling off any strike action.