After Yass Hospital closed nearly half of its beds two weeks ago in response to NSW Health’s offer, they received no further response. They met with union leaders yesterday to

discuss their next step forward, and it was decided that two more beds would be closed.

Paul Haines, President of the Yass Branch NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, says the seven beds will remain shut for the time being and hoped there could be a resolution before further industrial action has to be taken.

“In response to the absence of any form of communication from the LHD we have decided to close a further two beds in addition to the five already closed. We have asked for the LHD to reply to our updated resolution within 48 hours. If they agree to a meeting we are prepared to reopen the two beds we have just closed in good faith,” he said.

Organiser for Southern NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Pippa Watts, said at the time of closure that the main reason for the action was the removal of after-hours security at the hospital.

“The particular issue that we focused on and the resolution that we gave to management was the after hours security cover which was withdrawn last week (now two weeks ago).”

“There’s now no longer security at the hospital from 6:00pm in the evening, until 6 in the morning and it was in place throughout the height of Covid, and it’s now been withdrawn and the nursing staff feel very vulnerable,” she said.

Another reason Pippa mentioned was the Yass Hospital staff’s demand to see a nurse to patient ratio implemented for rostering.

“A nurse to patient ratio staffing system, where it’s clear cut, evidence based practice.”

“There’s been a recent study which has done a before and after of the Queensland implementation of ratios which shows that it pays for itself and is a no-brainer. Better job satisfaction, people stay, people get looked after better and don’t bounce back as quickly.”

“Yass is a small hospital, but what’s to say Yass should be any different to a major metropolitan hospital,” she said.

With only five beds currently open at Yass Hospital, let’s hope our hospital workers can reach an agreement with NSW Health before further action is taken.

Max O’Driscoll