Time to tell the truth: We aren’t coping
I know the situation in hospitals and aged care facilities is incredibly tough and I’ve heard from members how frustrated and angry you’re feeling right now.
We are absolutely right to be furious with the NSW and Federal governments. Their actions and inactions have led us to this. Their persistence in saying the system is coping reveals a complete disregard for the truth.
It is outrageous that NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet continues to spin the lie that our public healthcare system is ‘strong’. He repeats this lie while you are exhausted, working excessive overtime and still remain short-staffed. Patient care is suffering.
It is unforgivable that aged care nurses are struggling to have access to appropriate PPE with many not even fit tested. It is outrageous that the Morrison government asks people to rely on RATs, knowing ordinary working families can’t get access to them. Diabolical that RATs are not available in nursing homes while many aged care residents still await their booster.
The NSWNMA will never stop advocating strongly on your behalf and fighting for improved working conditions across the public, private and aged care systems. Officers, Organisers and Branch officials are continuing to provide support to members concerned about sick leave, COVID isolation requirements, NSW Health directives.
Within January 2022 alone the NSWNMA has been supporting
- An average of 110 members per day with COVID-19 issues
- 80% of all member inquries have been related to COVID-19
Key issues raised with the NSWNMA
- Transmission in the workplace/workers compensation
- Leave entitlements
- Members being directed or pressured to return to work while symptomatic
- PPE advice & Fit-testing and infection control
- Workloads and Staffing levels
- Isolation requirements
- Advice on government support payments
- Successful advocacy around workers’ compensation where a rapid antigen test is now sufficient to lodge a claim, instead of having to rely on a PCR test
I know you are angry, frustrated, fed up, and eager for change. We support the call that many are making for collective action. As your union we are continuing to fight for our members and provide support. I encourage all of you to get active, speak out, share your stories with us. Speak with your branch representatives or NSWNMA organisers to discuss the next steps.
While our health care systems may not be strong right now, nurses and midwives are strong. It is our goodwill holding these systems together and it will be our collective actions that can bring change.
More than ever before nurses and midwives are saying ‘Enough is Enough’ and they’re speaking out.
Since the start of the year, at least 40 members have spoken to media, either speaking on behalf of their branch or anonymously. This has led to hundreds and hundreds of stories on radio, online, TV and in newspapers making sure all our communities know what you are going through right now.
We will continue to ensure nurses and midwives can publicly speak the truth. But it is clear that stating the facts are not enough when we have state and federal governments continuing to deceive. The NSW government is the only one who can fix these problems. We will not forget this, and we will hold them to account.
Information is changing rapidly, and we are updating members through email and social media.
Please remember, if you need support your union is here for you. Do not hesitate to contact us.
Acting General Secretary
NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association