After lengthy “negotiations” with the NSW Government and a rally outside Liverpool Hospital, members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association may have their calls answered for nurse to patient ratios – that is, if Labor gets elected.
On the final day of the NSWNMA annual conference last Friday opposition leader Luke Foley confirmed Labor would introduce shift-by-shift nurse to patient ratios.
Mr Foley said the commitment was made because quite simply “It’s time”.
“We need shift by shift nurse to patient ratios to deliver safe staffing levels, to deliver you a better workplace, to deliver a better quality of care to millions of our fellow citizens in our mighty public health system,” Mr Foley said.
“Today I also give the general commitment to shift by shift nurse to patient ratios and announce that an incoming Labor government will bring ratios to regional hospitals and bring regional staffing levels up to city levels.”
“I hear you. We have a great public health system but we have to fight to keep it that way.”
NSWNMA Liverpool president Brian Grant finally had a smile on his face and commended Labor’s commitment to the public health system.
“This was a fantastic announcement by Luke Foley and should have a great benefit to Liverpool Hospital especially the maternity peri-op emergency and some other specialist units including pediatrics,” Mr Grant said. “This will make our hospital a safer place as well as other hospitals in the state of NSW.”
It’s understood the plan will ensure nurse to patient ratios in medical and surgical wards on every shift across all major and district NSW hospitals.
Hundreds more nurses will be employed in “B” and “C” group hospitals throughout the state, lifting staffing levels up to those of “A” group hospitals in metro areas.
A couple of months ago at the Liverpool rally Catherine Jackson shared her harrowing experience of what it was like to work as a midwife under current conditions.
“There are lots of incidents in maternity,” she said.
“We work in a hard area because we work with mothers who lose their baby, too, and that can be on one shift and then we walk into the next room to a mother who’s giving birth, so it’s a struggle.”