Nurses need support, not criticism, says SCU lecturer

FRONTLINE health workers needed support to improve their health, not criticism, according to Kay Ross, a veteran nurse and Southern Cross University Health Sciences lecturer.

Her comments followed a call in State Parliament for disciplinary action against Northern NSW Local Health District chief Chris Crawford.

The NSW Nurses Association has slammed Mr Crawford for his recent staff newsletter where he wrote that: "Managers have reported that some staff are taking sick leave due to their general state of unwellness, resulting from their engaging in unhealthy lifestyles (eg smoking, excess drinking, overweightness, and being unfit)."

Labor MP Walt Secord questioned whether the government would take any action over the statement. North Coast Minister Duncan Gay said he would "pass on" the question to Minister for Health Jillian Skinner.

On Friday Mrs Skinner said there was nothing unusual about Mr Crawford's statement and that the union's criticism was motivated as part of a "campaign".

"I think the whole population needs to be made aware of the importance of preventative health, and that's the message I put out on a regular basis," she said. Mr Crawford said his message was to a minority of health workers, originating from senior management. He said he would clarify the message further in the next newsletter.



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