Union claims hospital understaffing hurting patients
INTENTIONAL understaffing to save on costs has led to Tweed Hospital patients being treated by first-year students, the Health Services Union claims.
HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said four full-time occupational therapist positions and four physiotherapy jobs had been left vacant.
"The Northern NSW Local Health District is using this as a cost-saving exercise at the expense of the health and safety of patients and clients at the Tweed," he said.
"Occupational therapists are meant to be assessing patients and giving them important advice about how to safely complete daily tasks as they recover from injuries or surgery.
"But there are not enough staff to see everyone, leading to an increased risk of repeat injury and leading to longer hospital stays for patients."
Mr Hayes said some patients were treated by first-year physiotherapy students because of the shortfall in staff, and services were supplemented with private providers "which has caused a massive blow-out in costs".