Beds closed, talks continue

EIGHT beds at Blacktown Hospital remain closed because of staff shortages.

Talks between Western Sydney Local Health District and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association members continue after the beds were closed on May 16.

Management closed beds in the medical assessment and surgical units after union members voted to take action if concerns about staff shortages weren't addressed.

"Nursing staff indicated the safety of patients would be compromised unless management implemented changes and appropriate nursing staff levels to adequately cover workloads, including covering leave relief," association general secretary Brett Holmes said.

There are no bed cuts, said local health district chief executive Danny O'Connor.

"Expansion and contraction of clinical capacity occurs on a weekly basis, according to the flow of the patients in and out of our hospitals," he said.

"We are committed to maintaining the highest level of patient safety. We will continue working closely with our staff and the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association."

The bed closures haven't made a noticeable difference, said branch delegate Maureen Buckley.

"Our priority has always been about patient safety," she said.

"No nurse goes into the profession to get rich."

Mrs Buckley said monitoring of the situation continued.

"We are working well with management in a professional relationship to achieve a good outcome," she said.

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