Stressed nurses and midwives strike in Lismore
Nurses and midwives at Lismore Base Hospital have walked off the job for more than 15 hours, in a desperate bid to improve staffing levels across the local hospital.
Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) Lismore Base Hospital branch voted unanimously to stop work on 10 June 2021, frustrated by the NSW government’s refusal to introduce nurse-to-patient ratios.
NSWNMA Lismore Base Hospital Branch Secretary, Gil Wilson, said while nurses and midwives never took strike action lightly, the nursing and midwifery staffing situation was dire.
“We are flat-out highlighting all of the issues at our hospital and it’s now reached crisis levels. Unsafe staffing is impacting our patients and the nurses trying to provide their care,” said Mr Wilson.
“Nurses and midwives are overwhelmingly committed to caring for every patient who comes through our doors, but the more we give above and beyond, the more we are being taken for granted.
“We need mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in our hospitals, just like they have in Queensland, Victoria and Canberra. Our current staffing system is outdated, unsafe and forever being rorted to save costs.
“We need the right number of nurses and midwives, with the right skills, at the right time – that’s shift-by-shift ratios. NSW is missing out because the government is ignoring these widespread concerns.
“We are regularly over our bed capacity here at Lismore Base, which forces us to rely on surge beds, but we don’t have the adequate staffing to care for patients who are put into these extra beds.
“The amount of overtime we’re being asked to do is beyond excessive and we’re extremely worried about the limited clinical support on offer to our less experienced staff who are still learning their skills.”
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, similar to those operating in Queensland, Victoria and Canberra.