According to a nurse at Hedland Health Campus in Western Australia's Pilbara, personnel shortages are so "severe" that nurses are sometimes asked to postpone inducing pregnant mothers.
The assertion was made in an emailed answer to a poll conducted by the nurses' union.
They are sometimes instructed not to "establish" a lady so that we may care for two [other] ladies in labor," added the nurse.
Mark Olson, state secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) in Western Australia, said that "establishing" a pregnant woman meant inducing her on medical advice.
He said that what [postponing] implies is that you're delaying the birth of a kid.
Delaying induction has the potential to cause additional problems during delivery.
It can undoubtedly result in increased foetal discomfort.
'On clinical grounds,' inductions
According to WA Country Health Service (WACHS) CEO Jeff Moffet, top personnel at the Hedland Health Campus have disputed that nurses have been ordered to postpone inductions.
He stated he had already talked personally to their top personnel [at Hedland], and they have informed him that this is not the case.
They keep track of labor inductions. They're all based on clinical evidence.
However, he said that he would take a "closer look" at the information acquired by the ANF.
This is not the first time a health campus has been highlighted
Ms. Dhu, an Aboriginal lady, died in police custody at Hedland Health Campus in 2014.
Vafa Naderi, the doctor who treated her, was charged with professional misconduct after certifying her fit for custody despite her increased heart rate and numerous cries of discomfort.
A nurse at the Pilbara's second main hospital, Karratha Health Campus, used the survey to identify "unsafe" staffing levels, claiming that there was no nurse monitoring patients in the emergency department waiting area at one time.
The nurse said that they didn't have a triage nurse one day over the weekend, so the ward clerk had to phone the shift coordinator every time there was a triage.
Mr. Moffet said that WACHS would "not let standards drop" when challenged about safety issues.
He said that if they are unable to sustain a service at a safe level, they will make modifications to the service.
Mr. Moffet said such modifications would involve lowering service hours, as was recently done in Wyndham, or even sending patients to Perth or rural hospitals.
Bunbury nurses have been ordered to return their Christmas vacation.
Staff at Bunbury Health Campus, on the opposite end of the state, reported getting many text messages every day, basically asking them to cover additional shifts.
Whilst an email issued last month by a midwifery manager advised workers to consider returning Christmas vacation, it said that it had been authorised on the premise that staff levels would have been enough to handle it.
According to the email, unfortunately, personnel constraints will persist through early 2022, when a lot of fresh graduates join the team.
He said that he needs to urge all employees who had vacations authorised for the December/January timeframe to reconsider their plans and see if you can shave a few days off at either end and still be available to work.
It will make a significant difference in covering the roster if everyone gives back a few days.
Mr. Moffet stated that employees had been ordered to work additional shifts and postpone vacation.
He said that country WA depends on a lot of personnel that come from abroad and interstate, and although we could initially manage with some of the changes in staff desire to travel, over 20 months [of COVID], it's becoming more difficult to access the supply stream that we typically use.
Bunbury Health Campus has recently made news as well.
The Western Australian Workplace Health and Safety Commission said in April that it will investigate the Australian Medical Association's reports of a "crisis" condition at the hospital.