NEGOTIATIONS are underway to resolve the staffing dispute at Manilla District Hospital, where nurses are calling for better patient-to-staff ratios.
The nurses are fighting for two additional registered nurses, along with four more nursing assistants.
Staff have met with Hunter New England Health (HNEH) twice in the past two weeks, and will also meet with union representatives from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association on Friday.
HNEH regional health services director Susan Heyman said while they were making progress, “it’s going to take some time”.
“There is some good discussion with local nurses to understand what the pressure points are, and to try to alleviate them,” she said.
The meetings between the two parties will likely continue weekly basis until the issues are resolved.
“It’s probably going to be an ongoing conversation until we get it right,” Ms Heyman said.
HNEH was bound to work within certain policy frameworks and conditions, Ms Heyman said
“The current award states how nursing homes and acute facilities operate, we can’t work outside the award,” Ms Heyman said.
“Resources are valuable and finite, and decisions are based on not just demand, but how many people are presenting, what care they need and how sick they are.”
However, she believes there is some wiggle room and is hoping for a positive outcome.
“If we work together we can find a reasonable solution,” she said.
“We value our staff. We want to work with them and we’re willing to work with them.”