Coffs Harbour has been called out on national television with claims nurses are being treated poorly in the region.
Coffs Harbour has been called out on national television with claims nurses are being treated poorly in the region.

Claims nurses ‘mistreated’

COFFS Harbour has been called out on national television by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association with claims nurses are being stigmatised and treated poorly in the region.

The union’s general secretary, Brett Holmes, said on Sunrise he had received reports that a Coffs Harbour franchise “that sells muffins” is refusing to serve nurses.

Mr Holmes said he’d also received a report that a nurse who had moved from Sydney had been refused rentals in the area, after being forced to move out of a local caravan park as it was closing down.

“It’s just amazing,” Mr Holmes said.

“There is a level of fear and misunderstanding in the community, and we want to make it clear that nurses and midwives and every other health worker who could be exposed to Covid-19 at work are acutely aware of their infection control responsibilities.”

Mr Holmes further clarified that you’d have to touch surfaces or be in contact with droplets from an infected person to catch the illness.

“This virus doesn’t have legs, it doesn’t jump large distances off surfaces.”

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) General Secretary Brett Holmes revealed on national television nurses in Coffs Harbour are being refused service at a local business, and are being knocked back for rentals.
NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) General Secretary Brett Holmes revealed on national television nurses in Coffs Harbour are being refused service at a local business, and are being knocked back for rentals.

Coffs Harbour locals have since taken to social media to share their disgust with the claims.

“This is bloody disgusting. It’s un-Australian. Apart from the fact that most nurses have no contact with infected C19 patients, what sort of moron thinks any nurse would not be following the strictest hygiene. Please these nurses don’t deserve this,” Mike O’Rourke said.

“We should be applauding these frontline heroes, not demeaning them and spitting on them and knocking them back for rentals. Absolutely disgusting behaviour,” Donna Webber said.

“It is so criminal as to how medical staff or any emergency worker is being treated at this time when we have a crisis on our hands. We are all in this together and we need to pull together and have respect for one another,” Lesley Smith said.

The Association’s statements come just days after local politicians, Coffs-Clarence Police and the Mid North Coast Local Health District released a joint statement imploring residents to treat frontline workers well.

MNCLHD chief executive Stewart Dowrick said some people who have been deemed ineligible for Covid-19 testing at the three clinics set up across the region have been taking frustrations out on local health care workers.

A COVID-19 testing clinic at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital has been in operation at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.
A COVID-19 testing clinic at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital has been in operation at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

Mr Dowrick stated, as of last week a total of 2489 people on the Mid North Coast had been tested for Covid-19 and had been excluded.

“I can understand why people find it frustrating they cannot simply present at a clinic and be tested, but the eligibility criteria has been established for good reasons,” Mr Dowrick said.

Residents are reminded they will only be tested for Covid-19 if they meet the following criteria:

- You have returned from overseas in the past 14 days and you develop respiratory illness with or without fever.

- You have been in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case in the past 14 days and you develop a respiratory illness with or without fever.

- You have severe community-acquired pneumonia and there is no clear cause.

- You are a healthcare worker who works directly with patients and you have a respiratory illness and a fever.