Labor's Penrith Health Failure: Maternity Nursing Crisis - 421 Unfilled Shifts

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt must explain why the Keneally Labor Government is allowing hundreds of nursing shifts in the Nepean Hospital maternity unit to go unfilled, compromising patient care, Shadow Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and Liberal candidate for Penrith Stuart Ayres said today.

In recent protest rallies the NSW Nurses Association revealed there were 20 full time equivalent positions unfilled in the maternity unit at Nepean Hospital, which amounted to 421 nursing shifts going unfilled, stating:

2. Nepean Hospital: There are more than 20 full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions unfilled in the maternity section alone. This includes vacancies in the clinic, delivery suite, ante-natal and post-natal sections. For the month 8/3/10 - 4/4/10 the roster has 421 unfilled shifts as follows:

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - short 166 shifts
Antenatal - short 51 shifts
Postnatal - short 121 shifts
Delivery Suite - short 83 shifts

"The Keneally Labor Government is failing mothers at Nepean Hospital," Mrs Skinner said.

"Nurses have had enough of Labor's cuts and I don't blame them," she said.

"Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt has refused to stop Labor's cuts to frontline nursing; she should start listening to hard working nurses in Penrith who oppose these cuts.

"In November last year Carmel Tebbutt cut 150 graduate nurse positions from the NSW health system. She's just too inexperienced to understand the importance of nurses."

Mr Ayres said Labor had ignored the needs of Nepean Hospital and Penrith families for too long.

"I will take a fresh approach to representing families, and the nurses who are so vitally important to people's health who work at Nepean Hospital.

"I support local nurses in their fight against Labor's cuts to health services in Penrith," Mr Ayres said.