New microfibre blankets in NSW unpopular with NSWNMA

With the temperature dropping, problems with a new blanket rolled out across NSW hospitals are becoming apparent. 

Blue polyester blankets have now replaced the white cotton blankets at both Moruya and South Eastern Regional Hospitals. 

NSW Health introduced the blankets as an update to linen supplies. It claims the blue blankets are “flame retardant, environmentally friendly and more comfortable for patients”.

NSW Health also claims the new blankets are warmer, and have “superior heat entrapment compared to traditional white cotton blankets.”

However, this is contested by Zoe-Anna Guinea, NSW Nurses and Midwifes’ Association organiser for Southern NSW.

Ms Guinea spoke with nurses at Moruya Hospital on Wednesday where the blankets have been in use for about four months. 

“Members at Moruya told me they are putting up to five blankets on patients to keep them warm,” she said.

“Even then there has been trouble with keeping some patients’ core temperature stable.”

Members of the NSWNMA told Ms Guinea the blankets were too heavy for patients, and using multiple blankets generated uncomfortable static friction between the layers.

“There seems to be a lot of issues with them,” Ms Guinea said.

“From what I understand, they just appeared one day without any consultation with the nurses.” 

Ms Guinea said nurses just wanted the white cotton blankets back. 

"There’s a general feeling that people aren't happy with the swap,” she said.

In a media release, NSW Health said feedback from hospital management and patients regarding the new blankets had been positive.

A spokesperson for NSW Health said they had not had negative feedback from nursing unit managers.

Ms Guinea said patients and nurses unsatisfied with the blue blankets should inform hospital management. 

“We encourage members to complain to their unit manager on behalf of their patients if they are uncomfortable,” she said. 

“Hospitals take patient feedback quite seriously, so patients can bring it up in their satisfaction survey too.”

The new blankets are in use throughout Murrumbidgee, Southern NSW, Central Coast, Greater Western, Mid North Coast and Illawarra Shoalhaven health districts.

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