Rallies for ratios
NSWNMA members have been connecting with their local communities about the importance of ratios.
Blacktown Hospital, Maureen Buckley, Aged Services Emergency Team, clinical nurse consultant
“When we started to discuss the ratios campaign, our branch members came up with this idea of asking nurses here to write on an egg what their issues were. There were dozens of eggs and people put all sorts of things on them. Then we had to stand on a plank of wood balanced on bricks and put the egg on the end. Invariably the eggs got broken, and the broken eggs with the messages on it symbolised the current broken system without improving ratios. We had a rally at the beginning of May with around 100 people, just outside Blacktown Hospital. We drew attention to the fact that we support all our colleagues throughout NSW public health facilities in this new campaign to increase ratios. At Blacktown we have areas that don’t have any mandated ratios, such as the Emergency Department and the special care MAU (Medical Assessment Unit). Usually when ratios are employed they are a minimum. Skills mix is still an issue: like for like are rarely replaced.”
Campbelltown Hospital, Melissa Vowell, Emergency Department, NUM
“I work at Campbelltown emergency as a NUM and I’m concerned about ratios in ED. We don’t actually have ratios in ED, so the best ratios we probably have are one to four, and that can blow out to one to five. One to three would be a reasonable workload in the acute area, and speaking to staff they would fight more for the ratios than for a pay rise. If we had ratios in ED, it will just make it safer for the staff and safer for the patient. Other parts of the hospital have worse ratios; in sub-acute it is one to six, and in some areas there are no ratios. At the end of April we wore red tape around our arms just to highlight the issue of ratios for 24 hours, then we gathered at Park Central for a rally. Everyone is supportive of having ratios: they know it means they are going to get better care in the emergency department.”