NSW Labor guarantees nurses and midwives a ratio system

NSW opposition leader Luke Foley has guaranteed a new nurse to patient ratio system for the state’s hospitals under a NSW Labor government.

The promise came after the current Liberal state government refused to entertain nurse to patient ratios at the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association’s (NSWNMA ANMF NSW Branch) 73RD Annual Conference last week.

Mr Foley said a future Labor government was committed to introducing shift-by-shift nurse to patient ratios.

“We need shift by shift nurse to patient ratios to deliver safe staffing levels, to deliver you a better workplace, to deliver a better quality care to millions of our fellow citizens in our mighty public health system,” he said.

“We will work with you to deliver nurse to patient ratios explicitly in your [nurses] Award in 2019.

“I gave the emergency department and paediatric ward commitment in 2015. Today I also give the general commitment to shift by shift nurse patient ratios. Today I announce that an incoming Labor government will bring ratios to regional hospitals and bring regional staffing up to city levels.”

Under the plan, there will be guaranteed nurse to patient ratios in medical and surgical wards on every shift across all major and district NSW hospitals, creating a clear understanding of how many patients nurses have to care for.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, welcomed the announcement and highlighted the difference it would make for patients, particularly those in regional NSW.

“Today’s commitment from NSW Labor is a giant leap in the right direction for patient safety. After eight years, nurses and midwives are finally being listened to,” he said.

“Under this system, the health of country communities will be made a priority and for the first time, emergency departments and other speciality areas will have a new, reliable ratios system with a guaranteed minimum ratio on every shift. This is a real breakthrough.

“Ratios will save lives- evidence proves it. It’s a reliable system that meets the needs of patients and will put NSW on the right track for a more sustainable health system.”

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