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Mandatory Staffing Ratios For Mental Health

Mandatory Staffing Ratios For Mental Health

“NUPE supports the introduction of mandatory staffing ratios for mental health wards as well as in general health but the patient-staff ratios should apply to all mental health workers not just nurses,” said Nadine Marshall, Secretary of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. She was commenting on the blueprint for patient safety released by the NZNO.

“Increased levels of violence against staff and increased levels of acuity in mental health services have led to our Union calling for an increase in establishment staffing levels to safe levels,” said Nadine Marshall. “Current staff numbers as defined by the 1998 blueprint for mental health are plainly inadequate and our staff are being assaulted while managers focus on merely managing within their reduced budgets.”

“One unit at Hillmorton Hospital had almost 500 ‘incidents’ in 7 months with almost half being assaults,” said Nadine Marshall. “Units in Acute Inpatient Services are so understaffed and under-resourced that severely unwell patients are being shuffled across the service so they have a bed to sleep in each night. What kind of therapeutic care can be delivered when critically unwell patients are assigned a chair to sit in for the day without ready access to their personal belongings or appropriate continuity of clinical care.”

“More staff are required to deal with the increased acuity and violence,“ said Nadine Marshall. “Without fixed ratios for staffing the Boards will continue to allow the problem to stagnate.”

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