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NSW nurses and midwives have moved a step closer to securing shift by shift staffing ratios across the public health system, with the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association heralding Labor’s weekend election win as a major victory for the professions and patients.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said the outcome would deliver renewed optimism amongst nurses and midwives, particularly those who had been weighing up their professional careers.

Shaye Candish

“Thanks to the efforts of our members, our hard-fought campaign for shift by shift staffing ratios across the public health system just took a massive leap forward,” she said.

“Finally, we have an incoming government committed to repairing the systemic issues that have been hampering our health services, and to rebuilding confidence and trust within the state’s health workforce.

“Many nurses and midwives who have reduced their clinical hours, changed roles, or left the profession altogether will be able to look to the future with a sense of hope, while those who have been shouldering the weight of our health system will hopefully be energised again.”

Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said the change of government would lead to better health outcomes for NSW patients accessing clinical care, regardless of their postcode.

He said now was the time to put pressure on the new government to make sure they delivered on their promise to implement ratios, starting across these key areas:

  • 1:4 shift by shift ratios to replace nursing hours per patient day
  • 1:3 in emergency departments
  • A full review of Birthrate Plus
  • 1:3 in postnatal wards
  • ICUs staffed to professional standards outlined by the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses
  • 3 Nurses minimum on every shift in multi-purpose services

“This is the first step towards meaningful reform for our public hospitals. Phasing in an enforceable shift by shift staffing system will bring benefits to both patients and health workers,” said Mr Whaites.

“We will have plenty of work to do in holding the new government to their election promises, and we are committed to continuing our campaign until all aspects of our ratios claim are implemented.

“We look forward to the decade-old public sector wage cap being abolished, and the return of a fair collective bargaining process for our members.”