Casino nurses seek more night staff
CASINO nurses rallied yesterday morning to seek community support for extra night nurses at Casino Hospital's increasingly busy emergency department.
Demands on the emergency department have been growing since service reductions 18 months ago at Bonalbo and Coraki hospitals. The hospital now serves 23,000 people.
Nurses Association organiser Nola Scilinato said the number of people presenting to the ED had increased to the point where two more were required.
The five-bed ED currently has one nurse on the evening shift and no nurse on the night shift.
"More often nurses are being taken from the ward to assist the ED, and that leaves ward staff short," Ms Scilinato said.
She said Northern NSW Local Health District (LHD) had provided a temporary evening nurse since June but it wasn't enough.
"Quite often we are torn between the ED and the ward, when people are unwell or deteriorating."
Ms Scilinato said with the LHD striving to meet its 2012/13 labour savings target of $3.4 million, there had been a reluctance to put on additional staff.
She also said nurses were anxious their concerns were heard by health regulator AHPRA.
NSW Nurses Association general secretary Brett Holmes said a staffing allocation on that scale 'would not happen in a Sydney Hospital of a similar size'.
He called for Clarence Valley MP Chris Gulaptis to step into the situation.
The rally gained widespread support from the community, with 18 nurses gaining 800 signed letters.
Nurses continued their vigil last night, collecting signatures at the Casino evening carnival.