Following recent concerns by paramedics about the South East Regional Hospital’s (SERH) ability to cope with the health needs of the Bega Valley and issues related to cover in the emergency department, the NSW secretary of the Health Services Union, Gerard Hayes, has weighed into the debate.
“The HSU has had concerns about short staffing at Bega Hospital for some time and is presently auditing staffing levels at the hospital,” Mr Hayes said.
"We know there are already shortages in pathology and administration and we stand ready to take action if the situation is not improved. The public has a right to depend on properly resourced, quality public health."
Mr Hayes comments follow those of the Southern NSW Local Health District which has admitted that SERH “experienced some staffing issues in relation to medical cover in the emergency department”.
The HSU has specifically identified several areas at SERH where it believes there are shortages of staff; pathology - two technical assistants, security - three full time positions vacant and four new casuals needed in a pool, administration - currently short by five, medical imaging - two positions and medical records - one full time position. Mr Hayes said SERH was a brand new hospital with no weekend ward clerks.
In response the Southern NSW Local Health District did not confirm or deny the shortages existed.
“Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) consults regularly with relevant trade union organisations on staffing levels at all the district’s health facilities, including South East Regional Hospital, as part of normal and ongoing workplace relations,” a spokeswoman said.
“The claims mentioned in the media enquiry have not been raised by the Health Services Union as part of any recent consultations with the SNSWLHD.”
The spokeswoman went on to say that SNSWLHD did not resource pathology within the Local Health District. All pathology services are wholly owned and operated by PathWest.
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