Hospital staff plan walkout over alleged bullying culture

THE Health Services Union says more than 150 of its members who work at Bathurst Base Hospital will walk off the job on Wednesday morning to protest what the union alleges is a culture of “bullying, harassment and intimidation”.

The Western NSW Local Health District says it is endeavouring to ensure any stop-work action does not affect patient care, though it also says it has not received formal notification of any action.

The union says the snap strike will involve catering, security and cleaning staff, as well as allied health professionals such as physical therapists.

HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said staff will walk off the job at 9am and will not return for 24 hours unless they get action from management about their concerns.

“The culture at the hospital is seriously damaging morale and wellbeing,” he said.

“We don't take this action lightly, but we feel that it's necessary.”

The final decision to go ahead with the strike was made as late as Tuesday afternoon.

A union spokesperson said examples of the poor culture at Bathurst Base Hospital included sudden roster changes with no consultation; staff having their annual leave interfered with; and serious health and safety concerns.

Asked how long there had been concerns among the HSU staff about the culture at the hospital, the union spokesperson said it had been a “festering sore for a long time”.

The striking staff will be rallying out the front of the hospital at 9am on Wednesday.

A Western NSW Local Health District spokesperson said the health district had “not received formal notification of any stop-work action, nor of the issues on which any stop-work action may be based”.

“It is understood that the Health Services Union has contacted the NSW Ministry of Health indicating that they intend to stop work for two hours on Wednesday morning,” the spokesperson said.

“The Western NSW Local Health District is currently endeavouring to ensure that any stop-work action does not impact on patient care or clinical services.”

This story originally appeared on the Western Advocate website.