The Western NSW Local Health District will temporarily suspend the use of five of the six inpatient beds at Nyngan Multipurpose Service (MPS) as a result of ongoing vacancies in the nursing workforce.
Chief Executive of the WNSWLHD, Mark Spittal, said while very disappointing the measure was essential for the wellbeing of nursing staff, and would help maintain the existing services at the MPS.
“This is a temporary measure and one we’ve taken only after having exhausted other options,” Mr Spittal said.
“We have advertised repeatedly, tried to source agency staff, and offered redeployment opportunities from other facilities – and we’ll continue to do so until we secure more staff and are able to safely increase the available inpatient beds.
“The emergency department will remain open, 24/7, and the care of residents in the aged care service won’t be affected. We will have a hospital bed available and staffed appropriately to be used when necessary.
“Our hospitals operate as a network of services, so if a Nyngan resident requires longer term inpatient care, we will make arrangements for them to be cared for in another health facility as close to home as possible.
“We apologise to the Nyngan community for any inconvenience caused. However, if staff aren’t available, it isn’t safe for patients, and it isn’t safe for those staff who are on the roster.”
Recruiting healthcare workers to regional areas is a long-standing challenge, not only for WNSWLHD, but for every state and territory across Australia.
WNSWLHD is supported by the NSW Government to offer incentive packages to retain and recruit staff in hard-to-fill, critical roles in rural and remote locations. At Nyngan MPS, both registered and enrolled nursing roles identified as hard-to-fill.