Staff allocations political
MEMBER for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser says he is ‘appalled’ by a statement made by North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford regarding staffing levels at Coffs Harbour Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Mr Crawford’s comment ‘the key question is whether the staffing levels in the Coffs Harbour Base Hospital (CHBH) ED are less than in equivalent hospital EDs’ has riled Mr Fraser.
“This statement proves that politics are entering into staff allocations in health care in NSW,” Mr Fraser said.
“Coffs Harbour Health Campus should have staff allocated on the basis of demand, not on whether the staffing levels are more or less than other hospitals on the North Coast, or anywhere else in NSW.
“The professionals, that is, nurses and doctors, who are working in the Emergency Department at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus have already provided evidence to the North Coast Services and to NSW Health which prove that staffing levels are too low, and that the workload within ED (and in fact across the Coffs Harbour Health Campus) was far too onerous, not only creating stress on the nurses, but leading to unacceptable waiting times for people requiring emergency attendance.”
Mr Fraser said he had been advised that all new staff positions for the North Coast Health Services, and the Coffs Harbour Health Campus have to be approved by the Premier’s Department.
“If an agreement has been reached through the Industrial Relations Commission that staffing levels are to be determined by ‘Reasonable Nursing
Workloads’ process, it is totally inappropriate that submissions for extra nursing staff have to be presented to the Premiers Department for approval.”
“I cannot accept that the government, or the North Coast Area Health Service, has acted in good faith, as stated by Mr Crawford when this process is in place, especially when Mr Crawford’s statement says: ‘the Coffs Harbour branch of the Nurses Association has not put forward a Reasonable Nursing Workloads Submission to support its case for extra staffing in the ED. Therefore, the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) considers the Nurses Association to be acting in bad faith in launching an industrial campaign, when it has not followed the proper process for seeking increased nursing staff’.
Mr Fraser said health professionals at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus and the constituents of the Coffs Harbour electorate should be allocated resources on a needs basis as defined by nurses and doctors, rather than a political one.