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Skilled nurses not turned away

Thursday, 4th February, 2010

The Broken Hill hospital had not turned away qualified nurses, according to its manager.

On Monday, Rod Wyber-Hughes admitted the hospital was suffering from a shortage of nurses but said fluctuations in staffing did not allow him to put a number to it. It is believed the shortage of nurses is more than 30. To fill holes Mr Wyber-Hughes said he was shifting what staff he did have available to care for the sickest people, while nurse managers were doing more clinical work.

But Mr Wyber-Hughes denied the hospital had cut the hours of some nurses back and turned away skilled nurses from available positions. "We don't let anyone walk out the door if we can used them in a different area," he said. Mr Wyber-Hughes said to employ a nurse, that nurse must go through a process like any other employee.

He said a decision on who was employed also depended on the hospital's ability to accommodate them. "There's a process, it goes through a committee, the area health service," he said. "They are scrutinised, their skills (checked). "It also depends on our ability to take them on."

Mr Wyber-Hughes said there was a shortage of skilled nurses, especially in midwifery and intensive care. He blamed Broken Hill's remote location for the shortage of suitable trained nurses. "It's the nature of where we live, the isolation, the location," he said.

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