Local News

Health authority confirms city nurses filling roster gaps in the Upper Hunter

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 Nurses at Muswellbrook, Singleton and Scone hospitals say they are worn out from continual double shifts and overtime.

They’ve previously warned patient safety is at risk because there is not enough nurses to care for patients.

 Yesterday Radio Hunter Valley revealed health service managers have taken to emailing staff in bigger centres like Newcastle to ask them to come to the Upper Hunter to fill gaps in rosters or take up a short term move to ensure minimum nursing numbers can be maintained.

In response Hunter New England Local Health District says they regularly update their internal talent pool to use current employees more efficiently and share resources throughout the District, rather than use external agencies to fill short term gaps.

"Redeploying nurses to other parts of the District for short periods is also an opportunity to experience life and work in rural and regional facilities and share knowledge with colleagues," spokesperson said.

"Nurses who are deployed to other sites can be relocated for up to 12 weeks, however the average stay is usually around three weeks. The incentives on offer are allowances within the NSW Nurses Award and include the cost of accommodation, travel and meals."

 The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association says this is a real indication that the local health service is acknowledging that we are in crisis.

 The union says the government needs to urgently fund increased staffing and introduce nurse to patient ratios.

Image: Darren Cutrupi