Lismore doctors support nurses' action over staff cuts
DOCTORS at Lismore Base Hospital have thrown their support behind the facility's nurses and midwives, expressing concern at plans to reduce staffing without reducing beds.
Medical Staff Council chair and Lismore-based paediatrician Chris Ingall said the decision to reduce staffing came despite continued overloading of the hospital's women and maternity unit, which was running at 105% of its capacity.
Dr Ingall acknowledged a decline in births at Lismore Base Hospital.
However, he said the retention of beds meant nursing and midwife staff would be faced with a higher percentage of acute gynaecological and post-operative patients.
In essence, it meant the unit would be housing sicker patients with fewer nurses and midwives to care for them.
Dr Ingall warned the reduction in staffing could present dangers for patients.
The physical layout of the unit meant at night there would be times during the night when the nurse or midwife responsible for monitoring sick patients could be several hundred metres away.
"If they said they were closing 10 beds, at least that would be politically honest," he said.
Dr Ingall said the nurses and midwives had approached the medical staff council asking for their support and the doctors were "100%" behind them.
The Medical Staff Council doctors will meet soon to discuss ways they could show their support for the nurses and midwives.