CHRIS CRAWFORD
CHRIS CRAWFORD

Bed surge on hold after crisis talks



ALL hospital beds across the North Coast will remain open for at least another three weeks while the North Coast Area Health Service tours the region to meet face-to-face with nurses.

In a crisis meeting held in Lismore yesterday, North Coast Area Health Service CEO Chris Crawford, and NSW Nurses' Association general secretary Brett Holmes, met to discuss nurses' concerns about the proposed 'surge bed' strategy, and lack of consultation.

The 'surge' would see 86 hospital beds closed across the North Coast.

The plan also involves reducing nurse numbers at each hospital by one nurse per shift each day.

Mr Holmes said the NSWNA only became aware of the 'surge' in late January, without any consultation from the North Coast Area Health Service.

"I made the NSWNA's concerns about the impact of the plan very clear to Mr Crawford," Mr Holmes said.

During the crisis meeting it was decided that Mr Crawford and North Coast Area Health Service director of clinical operations, Denise Fletcher, would spend the next three weeks visiting the North Coast hospitals included in the 'surge', to meet face-to-face with the nurses on the ground.

"I am pleased he and Ms Fletcher will now go around and talk directly with affected staff in each hospital and community health service," Mr Holmes said.

"We hope staff at all the sites involved will take this opportunity to express their concerns to Chris Crawford of the realities of such a surge."

In the meantime, the surge is on hold.

All hospital beds will remain open, and nursing staff levels will remain in place.



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