Port Macquarie nurses and midwives strike for ratios
Nurses and midwives walked off the job at Port Macquarie Base Hospital this afternoon, angered by the NSW government’s refusal to improve staffing levels using nurse-to-patient ratios.
Local members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) want staffing to be overhauled across multiple wards and units, including mandated ratios of 1 to 3 in emergency, paediatrics and post-natal maternity wards.
The NSWNMA Port Macquarie Base Hospital Branch voted to stop work for two hours, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, and expressed their frustration at the NSW government for ignoring concerns raised about patient safety.
In notifying management of the industrial action, the branch outlined several issues putting increased pressure on staff, such as excessive overtime, a dependence on agency nursing staff and a lack of clinical support, all contributing to increased staff burnout.
NSWNMA Port Macquarie Base Hospital Branch President, Mark Brennan, said staff felt they were not being listened to.
“Our professional concerns are being ignored by the NSW government and we’re fed up with our goodwill being taken for granted,” said Mr Brennan.
“We desperately need nurse-to-patient ratios here at Port Macquarie but also across NSW. We want to deliver the best possible care to our patients. What we’re seeking is not excessive, it’s simply to make all NSW hospitals safe.”
Last week, 500 nurses and midwives walked off the job across public health sites at Belmont, Blue Mountains, Bowral, John Hunter, Shoalhaven, Springwood and Waratah because of the conditions and pressures they are forced to work under. Five hospital beds were also closed at Yass on Monday.
To date, the NSW government has refused to negotiate with the NSWNMA on introducing nurse-to-patient ratios, similar to those operating Queensland, Victoria and Canberra.