A QUAGMIRE of misery, fear and distrust – that’s the damning assessment of Shoalhaven Hospital from a senior staff member.
The staff member, who didn’t want to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media, said the hospital was once a wonderful place to work where everyone appreciated each other but in the past decade under the current administration it had become “a place of fear”.
The staff member said “the administration is hell bent on keeping the staff so fearful of their jobs that they don’t dare speak out”.
Numerous staff members have spoken to the Register about issues at Shoalhaven Hospital, including ongoing problems with airconditioning units in the theatre suites.
It has now been revealed that a number of nurses who had undertaken months of extra studies to upgrade their qualifications on the promise of future jobs have had their dreams and hard work dashed, with administrators allegedly reneging on the agreement.
Sources said a group of five enrolled nurses and new graduates were led to believe if they undertook studies to upgrade their qualifications they would be promoted to positions of increased responsibility.
It is understood the additional study involved months of extra work but when the courses were completed the promised promotions evaporated.
“It is totally unfair,” one staff member said.
“These nurses had the carrot dangled in front of them to achieve their goals, and did with a lot of extra work, and now have the had their hopes dashed, with the simple explanation of ‘Go back and be one of the Indians or clear off if you don’t like it,’” the staff member said.
It is believed one staff member has decided to leave over the incident.
“This is terrible for morale, which is appalling anyway’,” the staff member said.
“It is a bloody misery, with staff all fearful of their jobs.
“[The administration] wants to get rid of any troublemakers.
“It is a shocking situation and unfair for the administration to behave like this.”
All this at the same time the Illawarra Shoalhaven Health Service announced it was set to conduct an investigation into embarrassing media leaks about the state of the airconditioning system at the hospital.
The Register published a photograph last Friday of theatre three at the hospital, which staff said was unable to be used due to the ongoing problems.
The system originally failed during the January heatwave, which put certain parts of the storage area for theatres outside Australian standards.
This led to thousands of dollars worth of drugs having to be thrown out, but could have possibly been much worse, with the integrity of millions of dollars worth of orthopaedic prostheses also threatened.
There have been other breakdowns since then.
Health service officials claimed the system had been fixed, but photos that were leaked to the Register showed portable dehumidifiers in the operating theatres to improve conditions.
In response, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District will be launching an investigation into how “unauthorised personnel” managed to take photographs in a patient treatment area.
A spokesperson for Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District said additional skills were advantageous, but simply completing additional training did not automatically guarantee a promotion to a preferred position.
“Any member of staff with concerns is always encouraged to speak with their supervisor/manager or the hospital’s Director of Nursing at any time,” the spokesperson said.