Changing the rules includes hospital staffing
Nurses and midwives were prominent at rallies around Australia on May Day advocating for “Change the Rules” on hospital staffing to improve safe patient care.
Sydney May Day march Prince of Wales, Patrick Gould, mental health nurse
“I attended the May Day rally with about 100 other nurses to support the Change the Rules campaign. It was just really good to see people from diverse backgrounds coming together to try to get our voices heard with other unions, in true solidarity. Unionisation has always been very important to me. It is about protecting your rights, making sure we have a safe workplace, are well paid, and making sure we can have the best quality of work and life. A lot of our patients in my mental health area are in there because of unemployment or recent unemployment, or issues with their jobs. When people are being underpaid, getting stuck in that poverty cycle, and living pay cheque to pay cheque, they are in constant financial stress. The biggest issue at Prince of Wales we wanted to march for are ratios: at least one to three in EDs, and also counting mothers and their babies as separate individuals and patients.”
Illawarra May Day march Wollongong Hospital, Sarah Morton, nurse and midwife
“I attended the May Day rally in Wollongong. There were about 40 nurses and midwives. It was my first May Day rally so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but everyone was really positive and enthusiastic. Change the Rules means we’re fighting for a fair go at work. For the nurses and midwives it is really about the ratios campaign, and midwives really wanting babies to be counted in the ratios. At the moment there are high rates of readmission of babies and poor breastfeeding rates, which probably contributes to some women’s feelings of postnatal depression and anxiety. We have got almost equal nurses to midwives in the postnatal ward, but the women there need specialised midwifery assistance and breastfeeding assistance, and it is outside nurses’ scope of practice to offer this. A lot
of the Shellharbour staff members know they can have a successful campaign after they saved Shellharbour Hospital from being privatised.”