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Lyell McEwin nurses take industrial action

Elizabeth Dabars
Photo: ANMF SA branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars
Nurses have launched industrial action at a South Australian hospital in protest at plans to use existing staff for a dedicated resuscitation team.

Emergency nurses at Adelaide’s Lyell McEwin Hospital are implementing low level industrial action designed not to impact on patient care as the staffing dispute continues.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) South Australian branch secretary Adj Assoc Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said three additional nurses are needed in the emergency department to staff the dedicated resuscitation team.

“It became apparent that they were seeking to implement that resuscitation team out of the existing staff cohort,” she said.

“That’s completely ridiculous because those existing staff members already have important work that they are undertaking, and therefore in order to take them and utilise them in relation to the dedicated resuscitation team would be simply a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“That’s something that the nurses at the Lyell McEwin Health Service emergency department did not accept because they are interested in providing an appropriate service to the community at Lyell McEwin and the surrounds.

“It seems absolutely bizarre and it is unacceptable to us that the northern suburbs would receive a lower standard of care than their counterparts at the Flinders Medical Centre and the Royal Adelaide Hospital, both of whom are described as tertiary hospitals and do have dedicated resuscitation teams.”

Adj Assoc Professor Dabars said emergency nurses have replaced their uniforms with ANMF-branded scrubs and are distributing leaflets to the community to raise awareness of the issue.

“At the moment it’s all designed not to impact negatively on patient care because of course the entire point is that we want to improve patient care at the facility and so the action really involves bringing community attention to the issue,” she said.

Adj Assoc Professor Dabars said nurses are also planning to participate in a lunchtime rally this Thursday.

“We are ever hopeful that we could get the matter resolved prior to then but in the event it’s not resolved by Thursday then the lunchtime rally will go ahead,” she said.

“The members will also consider what other strategies or potential escalation of their industrial action that they might be able to consider at that time.”

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords