The Keneally Labor Government’s Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt has been unable to explain why she has been cutting frontline nursing positions in Penrith’s Nepean Hospital, despite being asked twice in Parliament, Shadow Minister for Health Jillian Skinner said today.
Documents provided by the NSW Nurses Association have revealed, not only that there were 20 full time equivalent positions unfilled in the maternity unit at Nepean Hospital, which amounted to 421 nursing shifts going unfilled, but also more than 14 nurse vacancies in the critically important emergency department.
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“It’s quite clear the Keneally Labor Government has cut frontline nursing positions at Nepean Hospital,” Mrs Skinner said.
“With so many nursing shifts going unfilled, those nurses who remain on the job are being burdened with extra work which ultimately puts patient care at risk,” she said.
“Nurses are telling the Keneally Labor Government there are 20 full time nursing jobs vacant in the maternity unit and 14 full time nursing jobs in the emergency department – and yet Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt tried to tell Parliament there were ‘more nurses’.
“This is the sort of Labor spin that the community is absolutely sick and tired of.
“It’s just more of the same failure and incompetence from Labor. The Nepean emergency department is struggling with all these nurse vacancies.
“According to official Health department figures 30 per cent of patients in the Nepean Hospital emergency department took longer than the eight-hour benchmark to be admitted.
“Because of Labor’s cuts Penrith’s emergency department failed to meet official targets to treat patients with a potentially life-threatening condition within half an hour.”
Liberal Candidate for Penrith Stuart Ayres said Labor had failed to listen to local nurses.
“Without nurses, it’s little wonder our emergency department is struggling,” he said.
“I will be a strong voice for Penrith’s dedicated nurses and will continue to fight for Nepean Hospital so we have a local facility that is being properly resourced,” Mr Ayres said.