‘Teething problems’ at new hospital

Workers at the South East Regional Hospital walked off the job on September 14. Picture: Albert McKnight

Workers at the South East Regional Hospital walked off the job on September 14. Picture: Albert McKnight

While Member for Bega Andrew Constance believed the South East Regional Hospital was adequately funded, he admitted there were “teething problems” with transitioning to a new facility.

He was responding to recent claims by the Health Services Union (HSU) of chronic staffing shortages and and a lack of funding at the hospital. 

The NSW Australian Medical Association and the NSW Rural Doctors Association have also slammed staffing arrangements at the hospital, saying staff are asked to do too much with too little. 

Mr Constance said he has been assured by management and the Southern NSW Local Health District that funding is adequate and staff have been and continue to be recruited for SERH as services come online or the need arises. 

He said over the next three years, the NSW government will commit in excess of the building cost to run the hospital.

“We have seen an influx of patients through the new doors, which was to be expected with opening of a new hospital and we will continue to see new services commence,” Mr Constance said. 

“I am advised that we have seen an additional 57 staff recruited at the facility, including 22 nursing positions.

“I can assure the community that funding is available and ready to be expended on staff to cater for the needs of patients.

“I urge people to reflect on the fact that transitioning the hospital isn’t easy and there will be teething problems.”

He said the hospital has specialised positions that may take time to fill with appropriately qualified people. 

Two new security guards have been employed, as well as another radiographer and interviews are being conducted for other positions.

The MP’s comments follow a HSU-led strike at SERH on September 14, when around 45 people marched outside the facility over staffing concerns.  

“The HSU are quick to lay blame, but are not being overly proactive in resolving the apparent issues effectively,” Mr Constance said. 

“To the best of my knowledge I haven’t had a meeting request to discuss the union’s specific concerns.” 

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