Recognition and pay central to public health campaign


Recognition of increased workloads and a fair pay rise will be a central focus in our public health system campaign next year.

The award for public health system nurses expires in June 2008 and the NSWNA has kick-started the campaign to renew and improve it.

The union has elected a log of claims committee and conducted detailed research into members’ attitudes.

In this campaign the NSWNA will seek recognition and financial reward for the increased workloads and extra responsibilities that have been the bane of nursing in recent years.

NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said a plethora of reports have documented, quantified and analysed workforce and workloads issues in public hospitals.

‘The reports all recognise some core facts: nurses are the ones that hold the health system together, there aren’t enough of them and the initiatives to increase numbers have been a drop in the bucket of what is really needed. There is ample evidence of how the dearth of nurses impacts adversely on patient care,’ Brett said.

‘We not only have empirical studies. We have real life examples of the critical state of the system, with Royal North Shore Hospital being the most prominent in recent times.

‘This award campaign will be a once-every-four-years opportunity to do something concrete to make nursing more attractive to more people, to ease the chronic shortage of nurses and improve outcomes in the health system.’

NSWNA research into members’ attitudes has found a widespread sentiment for recognition and financial reward for unsocial hours and increased responsibilities in nursing.

Members are unequivocal that unbearable workloads and inadequate skills mix on wards demands action to create safer workplaces for nurses and patients.

Nurses are also crying out for more support so more of their time can be devoted to patient care and less to administrative paperwork and cleaning.