Midwives from NSW rallied today to highlight shortages within their maternity wards.
NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members from Royal Prince Alfred, Royal North Shore, Wollongong, Liverpool, Blacktown, Nepean Lismore, John Hunter, Tweed and Tamworth Hospitals have backed an open letter to the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, urging the NSW Government to implement mandated ratios in maternity services across all NSW public hospitals.
The current staffing system allows ongoing unfilled vacancies, which places mothers and their babies at risk and puts additional strain on staff and hospital resources. Currently, Royal Prince Alfred’s Women and Children’s service has 25 full-time equivalent vacancies.
Understaffing is having a negative effect on families because midwives lack time to provide the level of support and education new mothers need during the vital days following birth. As a result, breastfeeding rates in NSW have significantly declined by 8.4% since the current NSW government came to power in 2011.
Midwives are asking for ratios of at least 1 midwife to 3 mothers in postnatal wards to provide a clear and accountable system that patients can rely on and midwives can trust at all times.