Health workers under pressure

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Health workers under pressure

Non-essential activities should be urgently reduced for hundreds of frontline health care workers in the South East region such as doctors and nurses in a bid to cut pressure on them.

Furthermore, regional health board members believe that any such reductions should not compromise patient safety or care standards.

A motion to this effect was adopted late last year by the Limestone Coast Local Health Network regional board.

The meeting was held over two months ago on November 27 but the minutes have only just been published online.

Board chairman Grant King acknowledged the significant challenges and demand currently being faced by the LCLHN workforce, particularly clinical staff.

Mr King reiterated the need for urgent measures to alleviate the pressures on the health workforce and the associated risks.

At the start of the November 27 meeting, Mr King confirmed the intention of the regional board to raise workforce challenges for further discussion and direction during the general business section of the meeting which was held in Mount Gambier.

Acting LCLHN director Angela Miller highlighted the significant impact the numerous incidents and events within the community in recent weeks had on staff, coupled with the persistent increased demand on services across the region.

There were 15 board members and senior staff in attendance and further discussion was held regarding strategies to alleviate the workforce pressures

At the end of the discussions, the regional board resolved to request an urgent report from the LCLHN executive leadership team to provide options for consideration to reduce non-essential activities.

The LCLHN has a workforce of 1400 with almost half employed as nurses and midwives.

The LCLHN regional board did not meet in December while the agenda of its most recent monthly meeting on January 29 carried no explicit reference to any report on non-essential activities.

The SE Voice approached the LCLHN management through the Department of Health media unit for an explanation about the requested report on reducing non-essential activities.

A statement was issued by newly-appointed LCLHN chief executive Emma Poland stating that no such report will be prepared by her staff.

“While a request was made at the LCLHN regional board November meeting for a review of non-essential activities in response to the significant pressures being experienced by the LCLHN workforce, an operational decision was subsequently made by management that this was not required and would not significantly ease workforce pressures,” Ms Poland said.

“The LCLHN regional board was provided with a verbal update at the January 29 meeting.

“The Health Service Executive provides regular updates to the LCLHN regional board regarding service delivery across the network and operational decisions made to manage demand, capacity, and staff wellbeing.

“Our purpose is to provide best practice care and services that contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.

“The LCLHN regional board supports the operational decisions made to achieve these aims and to ensure the safety of our staff and consumers.”

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