Mayor leads group meeting with health minister

Pictured (from left) with NSW health minister Brad Hazzard are Susan Heyman, Greg Sauer, Janelle Saffin, Allan McKenzie, Jo-anne McKeough and Peter Petty.

Pictured (from left) with NSW health minister Brad Hazzard are Susan Heyman, Greg Sauer, Janelle Saffin, Allan McKenzie, Jo-anne McKeough and Peter Petty.

A delegation led by mayor Peter Petty met with NSW health minister Brad Hazzard at Parliament House in Sydney on Tuesday, urging him to return staffing levels at Tenterfield Hospital to three nurses per shift.

The lobbying effort follows the health forum at Tenterfield School of Arts on Friday, September 13, where concerns about the pressure working conditions at the hospital were aired.

The delegation was made up of deputy mayor Greg Sauer, Tenterfield Hospital Board chair Allan McKenzie, NSW Nurses & Midwives' Association representative Jo-anne McKeough and MP Janelle Saffin, along with the mayor.

Susan Heyman, Hunter New England Health's executive director (Operations) for Rural & Regional Health Services, also sat in on the meeting, with Tenterfield Hospital Manager Tony Roberts participating by phone.

"The minister spent over an hour discussing staffing levels at our hospital and I commend him on the way he went about listening to each and every one as they put forward their view," Mr Petty said.

"He shared with us that it concerned him that the staffing levels had been cut and he would be following this up closely with Hunter New England Health in the future. The minister also spoke on how hard it has been right across the state to fill nursing positions, especially in rural areas.

"Minister Hazzard promised that our Tenterfield area would be included in the election promise to increase nursing numbers across the state. I did request the minister to ensure that, at least, the staffing levels at Tenterfield be brought back to 3-3-3 (three nurses for every shift) and this be reviewed in 12 months. "

Mr Petty said he took the opportunity to thank the government for funding the new Emergency Department Ward, at a cost of $1.4 million, and invited the minister to Tenterfield to open the new works in the near future, in consultation with hospital management.

"I wish to thank our state member for organising this meeting so quickly and to all others involved for attending at such short notice," Mr Petty said.