Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Last chance for nurses
Nursing staff from Deniliquin Hospital who have been stood down from work are being supported by Murrumbidgee Local Health District to get a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this week.
The PASTORAL TIMES understands up to 10 staff have been stood down because they were refusing to get the vaccine before the September 30 deadline for all NSW health workers to have had at least one shot.
MLHD would only say Deniliquin Hospital is its only facility impacted by a ‘‘clump’’ of those who are unwilling or uncertain about the jab.
‘‘There are some who are still uncertain, and it falls into two camps — those who have definitely declined — and I respect that’s their decision,’’ MLHD executive officer Jill Ludford said in a press conference earlier this week.
‘‘And there are some of those who are still waiting to see and get more information about the vaccine, and it’s with that group that we’re still working with,’’ she said.
Ms Ludford said the Murrumbidgee LHD has placed unvaccinated staff on leave until the end of this week.
The positions of any still unwilling to be vaccinated beyond that point will be advertised.
Ms Ludford added some staff across the district were already on leave and that MLHD would verify the vaccine status of those staff before they returned to work.
‘‘We’ll continue to support Deniliquin and once we separate staff who decline then we can go through a recruitment process, but at the moment we’re not able to advertise those positions because they still haven’t vacated them,’’ Ms Ludford said.
‘‘So that will happen soon, and I’m sure that we’ll attract new staff because it’s a beautiful facility.’’
As a result of the staff stand downs to date, 10 acute inpatient beds at Deniliquin have been temporarily closed.
And locum nurses from Wagga Wagga, Griffith and Corowa are filling vacant shifts.
If the number of patients exceeds the number of beds available, the excess will be transferred to other hospitals based on available beds and individual health needs.
Deniliquin Local Health Advisory Committee confirmed on Wednesday, via its social media pages, that some local health staff are in isolation due to the active local cases.
‘‘This includes a number of our doctors, who work across their GP practices and the hospital,’’ it said.
‘‘It also includes a number of nurses; both in the hospital and some of our GP practices.
‘‘We can assure you Deni, that each of these facilities impacted are doing the absolute very best to continue to deliver services, in the safest possible way.’’
Ms Ludford said rostering at the hospital was being managed to ensure services could continue.
On Tuesday, more than 97 per cent of staff across MLHD’s entire footprint has been vaccinated. A vaccination rate of 99.15 per cent is expected by the time a mandate for clinical staff to be fully vaccinated by November 30 is reached.
The remaining 0.85 per cent will be those with valid exemptions.