As a result of the demonstration, outside the Bangalow Community Health Clinic, the North Coast Parents’ Alliance group was formed.
Sally Cusack from the alliance said the group’s aim was to get enough early childhood nurses for this area, as required by NSW Health’s Families First policy.
She said the region’s allocation of nurses has dropped from two full-time employees, working 78 hours a week, to 1.6 nurses, working 63 hours.
“With current staffing levels at an all time low, despite having the highest birth rate in the state, early childhood services are now not able to provide a number of services” she said.
These services include:
Home visits for all new mothers in the early weeks after birth.
Ante-natal classes for all new parents (these classes have halved in recent times and new parents are turned away every month).
Attendance at all immunisation clinics to support the work of the immunising nurses and to discuss immunisation issues with parents.
Sufficient at-home support for mothers with multiple births.
At home visits for mothers of caesarean births without transport.
Assistance with breast feeding and parent craft.
Early identification of breast feeding problems, sleep and settling problems, postnatal depression and domestic violence.
Drop-in clinics at all health centres in the region.
Sufficient drop-in clinics to meet the needs of the region.
Ms Cusack said the alliance had written to the head of the North Coast Area Health Service, Chris Crawford, seeking a meeting with him to discuss these needs and how the NCAHS planned to address them.
She said the cornerstone of any health service was preventative care and parental support that began when a child was born.
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