PM Gillard expresses her support for nurses

Prime Minister Julia Gillard took time during the busy lead up to Election 2010 to address the NSWNA conference.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she ‘believed passionately’ in the dignity of work and that she could not think of any profession that better illustrates the value of hard work than the nursing profession.

‘Australians trust you to care for them at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives, times of fear and uncertainty, for themselves or their loved ones. Your care and professionalism makes such a difference in the lives of Australians every single day,’ said Ms Gillard.

The Prime Minister promised to ‘stand up for nurses’ and other workers by ensuring fair workplace laws, unlike Tony Abbott who she said wanted to cut funding to hospitals and frontline care.

‘I am committed to building a 21st century health system,’ said Ms Gillard, before setting out Labor’s achievements.

‘We have increased hospitals funding by 50%.

‘We are rolling out 1,300 new sub-acute beds across the country.

‘We are delivering 23 GP Super Clinics and upgrades to around 425 GP practices, so more health services are delivered in the one place.

‘We are improving after-hours care through a 24-hour helpline that provides access to a nurse or GP over the phone.

‘And we are investing, too, in the training and upskilling of the health workforce.

‘We have backed the professional skills of our most highly trained nurse practitioners and midwives, giving them access to the MBS and PBS.

‘We are already funding 1,000 new nurse training places a year.

‘And we are giving more support to the nurses who work in our health clinics, community health centres and Aboriginal medical services right across the country.’

Ms Gillard also confirmed that if re-elected, further aged care reform will be a second-term priority for the Labor Government.

Joseph asks PM to consider nurses and mental health

It’s not often an individual nurse gets time out with the Prime Minister, but Joseph Cidoni, RN and mental health worker at Gosford Hospital, had his moment during conference.

‘Julia Gillard passed me on her way out and shook my hand. I said, “Prime Minister, I’m an immigrant, a Registered Nurse and a mental health worker. Help. Help. Help”.

‘She said, “Joe, you’d be in good company with my father because he is a psychiatric nurse. He’s a nurse, a mental health worker and immigrant like you”. ’

Joseph was impressed that Ms Gillard took a moment to meet delegates at the conference.