Nurses at Blacktown Hospital (NSW) threaten industrial action over aged care ‘assaults’

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Six staff members have been assaulted by patients in the hospital’s 25-bed specialised aged care unit in the past three weeks, sparking concerns over safety conditions.

Of the 25 beds, eight are in a separate room dedicated to people requiring greater and more complex care – many of whom are experiencing advanced and severe dementia, and therefore symptoms such as confusion or aggression.

Hospital management met with union group NSW Nurses and Midwives Association last week in order to discuss issues regarding staff-to-resident ratios and the level of security in the unit and quell threats of industrial action – but staff still staged a public rally outside the hospital the next day.

Blacktown Hospital’s acting general manager, Ned Katrib, said management had since increased nursing staff levels, boosted security presence on the ward and initiated daily reviews of patient management plans. They have also increased the number of mobile personal duress alarms across the hospital.

“We will be introducing further staff training programs and reviewing the roles and responsibilities of staff working in the ward to ensure we are able to better respond to patients who may be showing signs of aggression,” he said.

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