The Greens are challenging Lismore MP Thomas George to come clean on the casualisation of the nursing staff in mental health facilities on the North Coast.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye is in Lismore to campaign with the party’s candidate for the state seat of Lismore at the March 2014 election, Adam Guise.
Kaye and Guise will hold a media conference to discuss their concerns that mental health patients on the North Coast are increasingly being denied the benefits of permanent nursing staff.
Guise said: “We are deeply concerned by reports of permanent nursing positions being left vacant while increasing numbers of casual staff are being deployed into mental health wards on the North Coast.
“Continuity of care is critical for mental health patients.
“Permanent staffing provides patients with consistent care.
“Health professionals with job security create a more stable environment for both patients and staff.
“The Liberal National government must come clean on the practice of replacing permanent nursing staff with casuals. Like other care providers, the mental health care workforce can least afford to be made victims of workplace casualisation and high staff turnover.
“Lismore MP Thomas George should immediately release the workforce statistics for the North Coast showing the proportion of mental health nursing hours that are delivered by casual employees.
“Hospital admissions per head of population for self harm in the Northern NSW Local Health District are occurring 38 per cent more frequently than for the rest of the state.
“This is an area with a major mental health challenge that is being let down by the Liberal National government,” Guise said.
Kaye said: “The NSW Coalition keeps their health workforce statistics under lock and key.
“The alarming reports I have heard since arriving in Lismore suggest that the state government is trying to hide the reality from the Northern Coast community.
“It looks like costs have been cut by replacing permanent nursing staff with causals, despite the impact on mental health patients.
“Best practise mental health care and high levels of casual staff are not consistent.
“Local MP Thomas George should contact Mental Health Minister Jai Rowell and tell his community the truth about the rising number of casual mental health nurses,” Kaye said.
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