MPs feel the heat

8932692397_85b101a596_oThe O’Farrell Government may be trying to hide behind its own bad laws to avoid improving and extending ratios, but a small army of nurses in more than 40 electorates across the state had something to say about that.

On May 31 more than one thousand nurses descended on the electorate offices of state MPs, determined to hold their local politicians to account and to push the case for better ratios.

Twenty members, representing both Ballina and Byron District Hospitals, marched down the main street of Ballina to National MP Don Page’s office. They met with Mr Page who said he would take their concerns back to cabinet.

More than 60 people – nurses and members of the general public – turned out in Bathurst to tell local MP Paul Toole to support our campaign. Nurses even persuaded the MP to wear our campaign badge. More than 2000 people have signed a petition to protest staffing cuts at Bathurst Hospital. Mr Toole says he supports removing the inequities that exist between city and regional hospitals.

There was plenty of local media at rallies held in the Clarence electorate, where 35 nurses and members of the public came together to pass on a strong message to local MP Chris Gulaptis.

Nurses set up a stall outside the Casino post office to collect signatures and, in a telling act of solidarity, local pubs banned the selling of beer until our petition was signed.

Campbelltown had a great turnout of 25 members plus numerous supporters from the public.

They collected more than 200 signatures and marched on MP Bryan Doyle’s office. Mr Doyle was present but refused to come out and speak to them.

Coffs Harbour members were told by the staff of their local MP, Andrew Fraser, that he was out of the electorate, although he was seen getting a coffee an hour later!In Dubbo, 28 nurses and midwives were supported by a number of off duty police officers and other members of the public.

Pru Goward, the MP for Goulburn, met a delegation drawn from the 50 nurses and midwives who gathered outside her office. She professed to understand that ratios are a part of the award, along with Nursing Hours Per Patient Day, and says she will discuss the inequities between rural and city hospitals with Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

Nurses from Leeton and Narrandera joined their colleagues in Murrumbidgee to talk to MP Adrian Piccoli about our campaign. More than 50 people were in attendance and the gathering received good coverage on WIN TV.

More than 80 people turned up in Orange to bring MP Andrew Gee up to speed. Mr Gee respectfully met the nurses and midwives present and agreed to take their message back to premier Barry O’Farrell. The event was reported by local TV and both local newspapers.

NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes said the day of action was an outstanding success.

“It is vital we keep the pressure on MPs and get them to transfer that pressure to the government’s senior leaders,” he said. “We need to maintain the momentum and let MPs know we will not be brushed off with platitudes.

“They are our representatives and we expect them to advocate on behalf of patients, nurses and midwives for better patient care when they are dealing with those important decision makers.”