BATHURST Hospital staff say they are fed up with the bullying culture, safety risks and a lack of respect from management, Health Services Union (HSU) Bathurst delegate Lindsay Thom says.
The senior wardsman, has worked in the Bathurst health system for 17 years, was among around 150 HSU members at the hospital who walked out for a four-hour strike on Wednesday at 9am.
“We’ve had a decline in equipment maintenance, a decline in staff levels and an increase in harassment to staff to get the job done,” he said.
While Mr Thom said the job of course must ‘be done’, he said it was being done with less staff and less time.
At the strike, many staff members said they were concerned they would be bullied further if they spoke to the media on the record, so they asked to have their names withheld.
One hospital cleaner said staff were forced to ask permission before going to the toilet.
Another said she had to show a death certificate of her loved one before being allowed to go to the funeral.
Others said they were issued ‘please explain’ letters if they were not in their required workplace for just a couple of minutes to use the toilet.
A female staffer, who has worked at the hospital for 23 years, said some hospital procedures put staff and patients at risk.
“It takes one hour to do an infectious clean [of a room] after a patient leaves, but cleaners are pushed to do four or five in an hour,” she said. “If you can’t clean rooms properly the infection stays in the room.”
The result, she said, puts patients and staff at risk.
Mr Thom said he was treated with “contempt” after advising management that the bleach/chlorine product used to clean patient rooms was designed for outdoor use only.
“They’ve got no respect. If you raise issues you’re targeted as a trouble maker,” he said.
Despite the short notice of the strike, it was only announced late Tuesday afternoon, Mr Thom believes patients and the community would be supportive of their action to have conditions improved.
“The patients are aware of the problems we’re having,” he said.