Australia

Fiona Stanley staff ‘having panic attacks’ before work as pressure mounts

“Although we understand these are unprecedented times and our booking numbers have seen a significant increase, many of us are feeling extremely burnt out,” the midwife wrote.

In a response email seen by WAtoday, a hospital manager said it was addressing understaffing by cancelling non-essential study days and hiring additional nurses.

“We will ensure a full roster review with human resources and Australian Nursing Federation and workforce representation,” the manager said.

Three months later, pressure is only mounting, leading to the cancellation of non-essential surgeries.

Opposition health spokeswoman Libby Mettam said it was alarming to hear firsthand the distress frontline staff at the facility felt on a daily basis.

“It is completely unacceptable that the concerns they have repeatedly raised about patient safety have been ignored. Patient safety should be the absolute priority, but it is being compromised by the McGowan Labor government,” she said.

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Ms Mettam said chronic staff shortages were putting lives at risk and had to be fixed urgently before another tragedy occurred.

“Morale is at an all-time low in hospitals throughout Western Australia because the McGowan Labor government refuses to provide the state’s health system with the resources it needs, despite predictions their surplus will reach $5 billion,” she said.

A South Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman refuted the claims, saying the hospital had made a range of improvements such as hiring additional staff and rostering a senior midwifery manager 24/7.

“Within 48 hours of receiving the email from staff in March a meeting was held with staff, unions, and managers,” she said.

“There are no current vacancies which means we are well equipped to manage surges in activity.

“We are proud of the positive culture within the Fiona Stanley Hospital maternity team.”

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