Tweed nurses and midwives walk out over burnout
Buckling under excessive workloads, nurses and midwives from The Tweed Hospital took industrial action, walking off the job over the NSW government’s refusal to improve staffing levels.
Local NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members voted in favour of the strike action, and called for the government to introduce nurse-to-patient ratios across multiple wards and units.
NSWNMA Tweed Hospital Branch Secretary, Pam Barrett, said the issues were widespread and staff were frustrated the NSW government had failed to acknowledge their concerns.
“We are regularly running over capacity across the hospital because of the growing demands of our local community,” said Ms Barrett.
“Ambulance ramping and bed block is occurring constantly in the emergency department, while our maternity services are stretched, and our special care nursery is often under increased pressure.
“Nurses and midwives are constantly working excessive overtime and we’re extremely worried about the limited clinical support available to less experienced nursing staff.
“Being on the border, we are struggling to recruit and retain staff because Queensland hospitals already have nurse-to-patient ratios, better pay and more support for their staff.
“Our branch is very concerned about current staffing levels, not to mention the issues we will face when the new Tweed Hospital is built. They will not be able to attract staff if the conditions don’t drastically improve – nurses are already heading north.”
Earlier today, members at Port Macquarie Base Hospital held a two-hour stop work meeting. On Monday, five hospital beds were closed at Yass. Meanwhile, 500 nurses and midwives walked off the job or closed beds across public health sites last week 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.