Rallies for ratios
Nurses and midwives in a number of our large Sydney hospitals have been taking our campaign for better nurse-to-patient ratios to their local communities.
Foley gets applause – and a reminder
Labor leader Luke Foley’s promise to improve nurse-to-patient ratios got warm applause at the NSWNMA’s Auburn Hospital rally – along with a reminder that maternity units need action too.
The Labor leader spoke at the rally outside the hospital, which is in his electorate.
NSWNMA branch delegate and president Kelly Wright, a midwife in the hospital’s birth unit, also spoke. She thanked Mr Foley for his commitment but said he should include midwifery in his ratios plan.
She said babies born in hospital are not counted as patients and therefore not counted in a midwife’s patient load.
At the same time, an increasing number of women have complicated pregnancies with the result that workloads are becoming heavier and unmanageable.
“I’m not sure he is aware of the staffing situation in maternity units so it is our job to tell him all about it,” she said.
This month, Auburn Hospital members will hold a community rally to educate the public about the need for ratios.
“We are getting flyers made up and talking to leaders who have influence in the community, with the aim of getting them to support the rally,” she said.
MPs back ratios campaign at Blacktown rally
Four NSW Labor MPs and candidates pledged to support the NSWNMA ratios campaign at a NSWNMA rally outside Blacktown Hospital.
Shadow health Minister Walt Secord, Blacktown MP Stephen Bali, Prospect MP Hugh McDermott and ALP candidate for Seven Hills Durga Owen all spoke at the rally and signed campaign pledge cards.
Christine Boxsell, president of the Blacktown branch of the NSWNMA, said the local politicians spoke about their close personal interest in the hospital.
“Durga Owen had her babies at Blacktown and Stephen Bali had a tear in his eye when he spoke about the wonderful care his dying mother received at the hospital. It was nice for the nurses to hear that,” she said.
About 50 nurses and midwives from all areas of the hospital attended the rally at the end of morning shift.
Christine told the rally that “the community deserves the best care we can give them – and the best care they can get will come in a hospital that benefits from nurse-to-patient ratios.”
She said the branch was planning a follow-up community rally to get the public more involved in the issue.
Branch delegate Maureen Buckley said she heard the same staffing stories in all the wards: “Poor skill mix, not enough time, terrible stories about not being able to sit with a dying patient: that is not what you went into your nursing career for.”
Opposition leader Luke Foley has promised to introduce a new ratios system including one nurse to every four patients on morning and afternoon shift and one to seven on night shift in medical and surgical wards – along with ratios in emergency departments and paediatric wards.
Foley has also promised that, if he wins in the March election, an incoming Labor government will apply ratios to all B and C group hospitals, giving them the same staffing as large tertiary referral hospitals in the city.
Actions you can take to help
The Association has set up a dedicated campaign area online (www.ratioslifeordeath.org.au) with resources nurses and midwives can use to continue the conversation about ratios with the community:
Watch and share the ad
View our latest TV ad on Facebook and share it with your friends, family and colleagues: https://www.facebook.com/nswnma/videos/755149658192772/
Share your story
If you or a family member has been a patient in a public hospital recently we want to hear your story. Tell us about your experience and why you think we need safe nurse-to-patient ratios.
Sign up for our campaign
Visit our campaign site and sign up to join our fight for safe ratios: http://www.nswnma.asn.au/ratioslifeordeath/
Download and use our resources
Here you will find information about ratios, supporting research, our claim at a glance and pamphlets and signs you can use to help spread our message: http://www.nswnma.asn.au/ratioslifeordeath/ratios_resources/
Email your MP
Get your MP to support ratios in our public health system: http://www.nswnma.asn.au/ratioslifeordeath/emailmp/
Letters to the Editor
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