Staffing issues are across the board.

Staffing. Staffing seems always be an issue these days, particularly when it’s about getting people into the area for jobs where people’s health and the most vulnerable in society are at risk.

It’s no big secret that the Tamworth Hospital’s Maternity Services are under the pump and struggling to deal with the 1000 plus bundles of joy delivered by the hard working and dedicated midwives that run the show.

The problem is there is not enough of them, the bigger problem is that we can’t get any more.

That’s right, despite this region boasting an unemployment rate three per cent above the state average, Hunter New England Health has not received a single application to the numerous midwife job roles that have been advertised over the last few months.

And while there is a national midwife shortage, the reasons behind the Tamworth crisis go much deeper than that.

It speaks to a much broader problem being experienced right across this region – and that is the problem with getting staff into the area at all.

We’re out there talking to people – employers – all the time, and the story is the same over and over again.

There’s just not the people applying for these jobs.

But why is this and what can we do to make it better?

We have a shiny new hospital that politicians love standing out the front of, beaming with pride as the cameras flash like they personally smashed their piggy banks, scraped up the change and built it with their own bare hands.

But what do we need to do to get staff to work it.

Decentralisation of each and every government department won’t do it, if nobody wants to live here.

Is it financial incentives that people want? Because when all’s said and done it’s certainly cheaper to live in the country.

Is it facilities? We have plenty of those. (Though some would say we could do with more) 

One thing is for sure it’s a conversation we need to have and soon.

It’s a conversation that needs to involve the whole of our community – government and private enterprise. Because when it comes to things like maternity services – life saving services – we can’t afford to be without for too much longer.