Cumberland Hospital Facing Criminal Charges After The Deaths Of Two Nurses
Cumberland Hospital is facing criminal charges after the deaths of two nurses in 2020.
The nurses, who were in a relationship, worked in the acute psychiatric ward at Cumberland Hospital.
Questioned About ‘Having A Personal Relationship’ With Another Nurse
In a letter written by one of the nurses, and obtained by Sydney Morning Herald, the nurse alleges that she was the victim of bullying and sexual harassment by managers at the hospital.
According to the letter, the nurse wrote that she was summoned to a meeting with the acute psychiatric ward manager and an HR representative. In the meeting, she was questioned about “having a personal relationship” with another nurse at the hospital. These included “sexual-based questions.”
After the meeting, both nurses were suspended from patient-facing duties, without clear reason.
In subsequent meetings after being stood down, the nurse was questioned about unspecified “theft” and a patient that was placed in solitary at the hospital.
‘Felt That I Was Kept In The Dark, Targeted And Treated Unfairly’
In the letter, the nurse denied wrongdoing and wrote that she “felt that I was kept in the dark, targeted and treated unfairly.
“I have withheld myself from writing this and standing up for myself due to fears of repercussions, but as I see it now, the damage has been done, so I feel there isn’t much to lose now.”
“I also feel that by stating my situation, possibly this can place light into the type of toxic and damaging environment many staff face under this health umbrella.
“I would like acknowledgement of where the system may have failed me and acknowledgement of the impact it has had on my reputation as well as general well-being.”
SafeWork: Cumberland Hospital Failed To Minimise Risk of Psychological Injury To Workers
Following complaints, SafeWork issued a formal notice in December 2020, stating that Cumberland Hospital “failed to minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of psychological injury to workers/managers at Cumberland Hospital resulting in poor workplace culture, workers compensation claims and distressed and anxious workers.”
The notice continued, “Workers are exposed to a risk to their health and safety, by work stressors and may be exposed to the risk of injury such as anxiety and/or depression due to exposure to psychological hazards in the workplace as a result of managers and supervisors allocating work and giving feedback on workers performance in an unreasonable way.”
According to a NSW District Court charge sheet, Cumberland Hospital is accused of failing its duty of care over the two nurses under WHS legislation.