Members in baby safety win 

28 July 2021

ANMF members at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital have secured a big win for newborns’ safety.

SCBU 3 (Special Care Babies Unit) will be opening next week on August 4. The unit is an old area remodelled and updated as part of the WCH sustainment works.

Based on members raising concerns to the ANMF (SA Branch) on the lack of emergency call bells within the space (they only had two within the unit, one by a bathing space and another by a resus cot), the WCHN have not only agreed to install the emergency call bells where members want them, but it will be completed by COB today.

This is a major win for the safety of infants. Without them being installed, 6 cot spaces (where babies come in to be triaged to establish how sick they are and what their needs are going forward, e.g., 1:1 staffing, etc) would be operationalised without an emergency call bell at the bedside.

This would be very problematic, especially if the nurse is working alone in the space (as often happens). The nurse would then be maintaining the neonates airway in the event of an emergency and be unable to call for emergency help. WCHN’s first response was for them to use the unit’s mobile phone in their pocket, but if a nurse is maintaining an airway she/he cannot stop to make a call.

Members raised this with the ANMF last week with the ANMF immediately raising it with the WCHN and the latter then went away to consider. Today, we were notified in writing that the WCHN will be installing the emergency bells by COB today.

“What a fantastic win by members concerned for the safety of vulnerable infants,’’ said ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM.

“Congratulations to everyone involved. A great outcome achieved very promptly. The safety of patients is always the No.1 priority of our dedicated, diligent members.’’