A truce: nurses and Pulse reach an agreement

NURSES from Forster Private have reached a truce with the hospital’s corporate manager Pulse Health that has seen a reduction in the number of proposed redundancies from five nurses to three.

As reported in last week’s Advocate five nurses were set lose their jobs and another was to have their hours drastically reduced at close of business in February 26. However, negotiations continued that evening and a compromise was eventually reached. 

“We met with Pulse Health in a meeting on the Saturday (February 23) in a session mediated by the Industrial Commission and they (Pulse) initially said no to compromise and that five redundancies would go ahead,” NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) general secretary Brett Holmes said.

“Fortunately in further negotiations on the Tuesday (February 26) they agreed to reduce the number to three.”

The process has been demanding on both the NSWNMA and Pulse Health with representatives of both organisations expressing relief that the matter had been resolved. 

In a joint media statement with the NSWNMA, hospital general manager Janet Moffitt said that a review of the hospital’s staffing needs in consultation with the NSWNMA had prompted the reduction in the redundancies from five to three.

“While any redundancies are regrettable, an increase in the number of rehabilitation inpatients in the hospital over the past month and the innovativeness of Forster nurses over the consultation process with management, has mitigated the effects of these proposed necessary changes which would otherwise have occurred,” Ms Moffitt said.

“By working with the NSWNMA over the past few days, we have agreed on a solution which best meets the demands of the hospital, the nursing staff and the Forster community.”

The NSWNMA had expressed grave concerns for patient safety and care had the proposed five redundancies gone ahead, but said they were now satisfied that staffing levels will ensure patient safety.

“While our preference has always been no redundancies, the reduction in numbers of affected nurses and a commitment to consider future opportunities for those affected is a much better outcome,” Mr Holmes said.

“Nurses will still be asked to cover shifts beyond their contracted hours, but those hours have been significantly reduced and we believe they’ve (Pulse) recognised the need for adequate staffing to ensure proper patient care.”

Mr Holmes praised the Forster branch of the NSWNMA for their solidarity during the drawn out process.

“Our member’s solidarity and commitment to their colleagues has been outstanding. This outcome demonstrates that proper consultation with unions and their members result in better outcomes for workers as well as business, which in our industry means better outcomes for patients. We will of course continue to monitor this situation via our local branch.”

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