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Questions Raised about Understaffing at John Hunter Hospital

Media Releases

State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has this week lodged Questions on Notice asking the Minister for Health about the staffing levels at the John Hunter Hospital.

The Questions on Notice follow reports by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) that patients have missed out on thousands of hours of nursing care due to understaffing at the John Hunter Hospital.

The NSWNMA have been campaigning for one nurse to three patients in emergency departments, paediatric wards and critical care units and a minimum of one to four in rural and regional hospital wards. They have also campaigned for an improvement of ratios in mental health and rehabilitation units and for babies to be counted in the ratios on maternity wards.

Quotes attributable to Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery

“This is becoming a recurring issue. In September last year we saw the exact same problem, with a shortfall of nearly 7000 nursing care hours from December 2016 to June 2017.”

“It’s high time that the State Government recognised that our nurses and midwives and their patients deserve better.”

“In case it wasn’t already clear, nurses at the John Hunter Hospital are reaching burn out. According to senior nursing staff, many are leaving because the work has become too stressful and they are not getting enough support.”

“Nurses care deeply about their work and their patients, and they save lives every day. They go out of their way to do the best they can, but everyone has limits. Our nurses deserve more respect from this Government.”

“Nurses at John Hunter Hospital are facing a laundry list of issues including the opening of unfunded and understaffed beds, forced excessive overtime, staff on sick leave not being replaced, missed meal breaks and unpaid overtime.”

“Our nurses are doing the best they can, and while Hunter New England Health is promising swift action, they promised that they would fix the problems last year.”

“Enough is enough. The Health Minister needs to step in.”