NURSES fed up with understaffing in Manilla feel their concerns fall on deaf ears with Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and hospital management.
At a recent rally, nurses protested for mandated patient to staff ratios so they can provide the care patients need.
“We hate apologies and telling patients ‘We’ll be back in a minute’: the standard minute for a nurse to return at the moment is 14 minutes, it shouldn’t be that,” Manilla Multipurpose Service nurse Tanya Rogers said.
“Mr Anderson did listen to our concerns but we asked him if he would support our ratio rally and he declined in signing a pledge because currently he doesn’t feel ratios are the answer, he thinks management is where the issues are.
“We feel disappointed when we walk out the doors and we feel we haven’t given the care we should.”
An award that allows flexible staffing was agreed to by the Nurses and Midwives’ Association in 2011.
Two registered nurses must be on the ward at any given time.
Manilla District Hospital was not a Multipurpose Service at that stage.
It’s not just the important things like showering and observations that are under pressure, Ms Rogers said, but it’s the little details that make a difference.
It’s putting on makeup for patients, having those difficult conversations with grieving families and taking the time to give patients a quality shower.
“At the moment the patients don’t feel they matter,” Ms Rogers said.
The nurses’ union met with hospital management on Wednesday but little headway was made in negotiations for patient to nurse ratios.
They want a four-to-one ratio mandated across all multipurpose services in the state.
“We encourage other nurses to start speaking up and join us in the fight for improved ratios in rural communities because we feel we are missing out,” Ms Rogers said.
“Mr Anderson is the only person in Tamworth as the MP that can help take it to the Minister of Health to get more funding in the budget to be passed down to us.”
Mr Anderson was contacted for comment late on Friday, but was unable to respond before this article went to press. Nurses hope to have further conversations with the MP before a rally is held in Tamworth on January 12.