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Australian nurses protest at proposed cuts to jobs and beds

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Nurses in part of Australia are protesting against the imminent threat of cuts to senior nursing posts.

Nurses in the north coast area of the state of New South Wales have held a series of lunchtime rallies in protest about the decision to amalgamate nurse management positions, and also to oppose a policy of reducing hospital bed numbers.

Under proposals put forward by managers at the North Coast Area Health Service, 15 hospitals in the area could lose their directors of nursing.

Officials from the New South Wales Nurses Association, local nurses and other stakeholders are due to meet with health service managers to discuss their concerns over the proposals.

The NSWNA argues that some hospital sites are too large and complex or too far apart to only require one director of nursing between two hospitals.

Additionally, the area health service’s ‘surge bed’ policy will be discussed. This involves cutting hospital bed numbers and placing more patients into community care.

However, the NSWNA argues that the bed cuts have not been accompanied by an increase in resources for community nursing services, resulting in an increase in pressure on nurses.

NSWNA general secretary Brett Holmes said: ‘North coast nurses are over the area health service spin about all these bed cuts and nursing amalgamations being about improved patient care. These measures are about nothing more than cost cutting and, in fact, they compromise patient care.’

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