South Western Sydney nurses and midwives strike for ratios
Hundreds of nurses and midwives have walked off the job at Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals, frustrated their ongoing calls for safe staffing have been ignored by the NSW government.
Despite intimidation tactics, including threats of disciplinary action, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members at both South Western Sydney hospitals voted in favour of the strike actions.
Braving wet weather, around 200 Liverpool Hospital branch members walked out for four hours, striking from 3.30pm until 7.30pm.
Ongoing short staffing issues, excessive overtime and a lack of clinical educators to support nurses prompted members of the NSWNMA Macarthur Branch to support a two-hour stop work action at Campbelltown Hospital, from 3.30pm until 5.30pm.
In the state’s north, members of the NSWNMA Lismore Base Hospital branch also walked off the job today for 15.5 hours (from 3.30pm), in a desperate bid to highlight the need for nurse-to-patient ratios.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said today’s snap actions were a sign of the widespread desperate situation nurses and midwives are experiencing.
“Our members never take strike action lightly, in fact, most will have never experienced it in their working lives,” said Mr Holmes.
“The examples they have shared of near misses and poor outcomes for patients are truly shocking. They are working beyond what should be expected of any professional nurse or midwife.
“Members have described critical staffing shortages across their emergency departments, intensive care units, mental health units and maternity services. These nurses and midwives are at breaking point.
“We need mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in our hospitals, just like they have in Queensland and Victoria. The NSW government’s current preferred staffing model is outdated, unsafe and frequently fails to deliver the right number of nurses needed on every shift.”
Yesterday, members at Tweed and Port Macquarie Base hospitals held stop work meetings, while a further 200 nurses and midwives rallied outside Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. On Monday, five hospital beds were closed at Yass. Last week, around 500 nurses and midwives walked off the job or closed beds in 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.
To date, the NSW government has refused to negotiate with the NSWNMA on introducing nurse-to-patient ratios.