BATHURST Hospital staff have walked off the job for the second time in eight months following allegations of chronic bullying and harassment.
At 9.30am on Tuesday, 50 linen, catering, security and allied health workers voted to conduct a 24-hour strike with the support of the Health Services Union (HSU) NSW.
Staff have long complained of bullying and harassment and said their initial strike in September 2017, when 150 people walked off the job, has not lessened the number of incidents.
During last year’s strike, a Bathurst Health Service spokeswoman said: “A cultural review will be undertaken by an independent consultant and senior staff from the district's workforce team”.
HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said on Tuesday that staff and the union were concerned by the lack of transparency shown by the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) in not releasing the full completed report.
“It needs to be transparent, it needs to be out there, not only for us to see but for the community of Bathurst to see so that they can see what is actually happening in their community hospital,” he said.
Wardsman Lindsay Thom has worked at the hospital for the past 14 years and said his decision to take part in both strikes was not taken lightly and that ongoing issues reflected negatively on “staff morale and the patients can tell”.
- WATCH: Heath Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes talking to striking Bathurst Hospital staff.
“We want to see what’s in the report, what’s been substantiated and what hasn’t,” he said.
Another striking staff member, who asked not be named, said the level of bullying and harassment some staff receive had not reduced since their initial strike.
“If there’s people who should be held accountable, then they should be held accountable,” he said.
Amid Tuesday’s strike, a hospital spokesman said an independent assessment of the issues raised last year by staff managed through Spotless Group was conducted.
“To protect the privacy of those staff who contributed to the assessment in confidence, a summary of the key issues and themes has been offered to the HSU along with a copy of the action plan,” he said.
The spokesman said issues have been taken seriously by all parties and collaborative work had been undertaken to identify what changes were needed.
“These issues have been taken seriously by all parties and the collaborative work has undertaken to identify what changes are needed,” he said.
“This has resulted in agreed proposed actions to improve communication and the workplace culture.
“The HSU has been kept informed of progress, and the chief executive of the WNSWLHD met with the HSU Secretary yesterday [Monday] afternoon to reiterate what has been achieved, and what is planned.”
Staff will return to work at 10am on Wednesday and the hospital’s clinical services were unaffected during the strike.
The WNSWLHD will notify a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission.