Watchdog to rule on nursing

NURSES in Cobar will have to wait another month to find out if they will win back an on-call, six-hour nurse they claim has left them locked in a battle with the Greater Western Area Health Service (GWAHS) for more than 18 months.

The health service has been given until February 20 before the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) reconvenes to examine the findings of a trial staffing arrangement, which looks at the impact of the Cobar hospital's nurse escalation plan.

The ICAC ruled for a three month trial after nurses closed five of ten acute care beds late October in response to what NSW Nurses Union delegates described as "dangerously low staffing levels".

The ICAC has ordered a full examination of the hospital's escalation plan - which was reduced to just a single on-call nurse for four hours per day, after the GWAHS dropped the hospitals daily nursing quota to 52 hours.

NSW Nurses spokeswoman Holly Rebeiro said it would be an anxious wait, but has ruled out further action until the findings of the review come before the commission.

The union is under fire from Barwon State MP Kevin Humphries who accused delegates of using nurses and residents as "pawns" for political advantage.

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