The general manager of Dubbo Hospital says nurses have no right to carry out their threat to close beds in the emergency department as part of a protest over staffing levels.

Dubbo hospital nurses are threatening to close six emergency department beds from this afternoon because of what they describes as unsafe staffing levels.

The NSW Nurses Association's general secretary Brett Holmes says up to nine full time nursing positions remain vacant because of budget constraints.

"This is obviously an extraordinary situation," he said.

''It's resulted from an extensive period of frustration that the health service who is facing a $19.5 million is taking and we are certainly calling upon the health service to act very quickly to fill these vacancies."

It is a claim the hospital's general manager Debbie Bickerton denies.

"Funding is not an issue, we are not deliberately not staffing, we're not deliberately leaving vacancies, we are currently recruiting".

The union says nurses are forced into excessive overtime, compromising patient safety but Ms Bickerton says closing beds is not the answer and she hopes to reach a compromise.

"I don't think they'll proceed with the threat.

"I would hope that we can come to some other agreement."


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