Nurses wait anxiously as numbers remain unclear
BYRON Shire health staff face an uncertain future with the Northern NSW Local Health District yet to confirm staff roles and numbers for the new Byron Central Hospital.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NMA) and the NSW Health Services Union (HSU) say the health district has repeatedly delayed the release of the new hospital's workforce plan which details staffing and service arrangements.
Northern NSW HSU organiser Jonathan Milman said the uncertainty over jobs had health staff highly distressed and anxious.
"The district has made it very clear that they won't guarantee anyone their employment," he said.
"They keep making statements they want to make efficiencies and savings.
"Our members are so distressed and it's not acceptable. They shouldn't be placed in this situation with Christmas coming up and all the other worries."
Northern NSW Local Health District CEO Chris Crawford said every effort was being made to place all staff who work at the Mullumbimby and Byron hospitals and Community Health Services into positions at the new Byron Central Hospital.
"Staff who work at these hospitals are not under a contract; they are either permanent fulltime or part-time employees and none of these staff will be forced to take a redundancy," he said.
"Some staff will also have the option to work in neighbouring hospitals and community health services."
Mullumbimby District Hospital NSW Nurses Association secretary-delegate Shauna Boyle said the lack of information about jobs was causing staff severe stress.
"At the beginning of the process we were told by the CEO that the workforce were guaranteed a job that we would just move over into the new hospital," she said.
"That has evolved… it became the people who have permanent positions don't have to worry but we can't really guarantee positions for the casuals.
"Then it became… we can't really guarantee positions for any staff."
As a result, the HSU and NMA are urging people to come to a community briefing session on the new Byron Central Hospital on Wednesday to ask questions on behalf of health staff who they say have been unable to get answers.
Speakers at the community briefing will include representatives from the Northern NSW Local Health District, Health Infrastructure NSW and the construction contractor Brookfield Multiplex.