Protecting public services and safe patient care

Assistant Secretary Judith Kiejda reported on the work with global and local organisations to protect public services, the ongoing implementation of ratios and preparations for the next pay and conditions campaign.

Joining forces with other organisations with common interests has been a key part of the NSWNA’s work over the past year says Judith Kiejda.

“The attack on public services is worldwide and Public Services International has been coordinating a major global campaign – ‘Quality Public Services – Action Now!’ since 2010. This campaign has seen a number of activities that have drawn attention to the continual erosion of public services including health.”

Judith said it was also important to develop relationships with local groups with common interests and this had been done through the Sydney Alliance.

“The Association has been very active in developing campaigns within the Alliance particularly in the areas of transport safety, community care and social inclusion.”

Judith said that despite initial hiccups the implementation of ratios was proceeding well. “The full implementation of approximately 1400 FTE additional nurses is on track to be completed by the agreed deadline of 30 June 2013.

“The remaining wards to convert to nursing hours, known as the final tranche 3 will be converted in two equal funding allocations, by 30 September 2012 and by 31 March 2013.

“Despite delays in the initial implementation of tranche 1 in the second half of 2011, overall the recruitment of new staff to fill the additional positions has been successful, quashing one of the major employer objections to ratios which was that additional staff could not be found to recruit.”

The implementation of Birthrate Plus is also progressing.

“Approximately 141 FTEs have been recruited to Maternity Services in stages 1 and 2.”

Judith said that during discussions with the Association it was agreed that the implementation of the final maternity services would be completed by 30 November 2012. The first group of 14 Maternity Services will be implemented by 30 September 2012, the next group by 31 October 2012 and the final group by 30 November 2012.

Following the successful achievements of ratios in many specialties, Judith said it was time to build on the next phase in the 2013 Public Health System wages and conditions campaign.

“Working groups have been established. In addition the Association has convened education and local campaigning sessions with Community Health and Community Mental Health nurses across the state.”