Nursing joy after protest

By KUE DAVIS

FED up Coffs Harbour emergency nurses have finally had their voices heard, following a rally yesterday morning.

From 6.45am yesterday, more than 15 off duty New South Wales Nurses Association (NSWNA) members rallied at the Isles Drive/Pacific Highway intersection to campaign for much-needed extra nursing staff.

The group, who held banners displaying mottos such as 'We Care' and 'Tired of being undervalued', caused quite a stir, with cars and trucks honking as they drove past.

According to the NSWNA, the nurses request for a Nurse Unit manager for every afternoon shift and Saturday and Sunday morning shifts had already been investigated and recommended.

"This was something that was identified more than two years ago as a necessity for Coffs Harbour," NSWNA Coffs Harbour branch president Sue White!said.

"We've been complying with the required submissions and data constantly, but we're not getting anywhere."

However, proving that actions do speak louder than words, chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service, Chris Crawford, announced yesterday afternoon that the hospital would be appointing both a Nurse Unit Manager to the required times and a Registered Nurse to morning shifts during the week.

"On balance, the comparison with other similar hospital emergency departments, and taking into account patient acuity and the layout of the Coffs Harbour Base Hospital emergency department, the NCAHS Executive decided that the staffing increase is justified," Mr Crawford said.

Mr Crawford said NCAHS appreciated the fact that only off-duty nurses had participated in the rally, and there had been no impact on patient care at the hospital.



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