Staff ratios and wages claim – branch voting update

NSWNMA branches at the state’s public hospitals and community health centres are continuing to vote this week on a proposed staff ratios and wages claim.

The claim¬†challenges the O’Farrell Government to build on the safer hospital staffing levels introduced in 2011 under an agreement between the NSWNMA and previous Labor government.

The current branch-voting schedule for the rest of this week, as advised to NSWNMA officials, is:

Tuesday, 26 February
Cowra Hospital – 3.00pm

Delegate MPS – 2.00pm

Forbes Hospital – 3.00pm

Hornsby Mental Health – 2.00pm

Inverell Hospital – 2.30 pm

Liverpool Hospital – 3.00pm

Lower Hunter Community Health – 12.30pm

South Coast Community Nurses (Dapto) – 2.30pm

Westmead Children’s Hospital – 2.30pm

Southern & Murrumbidgee Nurse Managers – 3.00pm

Wednesday, 27 February

Blue Mountains Memorial District – 2.30pm

Casino Hospital – 2.30pm

Manning Base Hospital – 2.30pm

Port Macquarie – 3.00pm

Cooma District Hospital – 2.00pm

Goulburn Base Hospital – 2.30pm

John Hunter & Royal Newcastle hospitals – 1.00pm

Kyogle MPS – 12.30pm

Lismore Mental Health – 1.30pm

Newcastle Community Mental Health – 4.30pm

Nowra Community Nurses – 1.00pm

St George Mental Health – 2.30pm

Sutherland Hospital – 1.30pm

Sydney Home Nursing – 2.30pm

Taree Community Health Nurses Branch – 3.30pm

Thursday, 28 February

Armidale Hospital – 1.00pm

Ballina Hospital – 2.45pm

Coffs Harbour Community – 2.30pm

Guyra Hospital – 2.30pm

Kempsey Hospital – 11.00am

Hornsby Hospital – 2.00pm

Hunter Area Drug & Alcohol branch – 12:30pm

Lismore Base Hospital – 12.30pm

Lismore Community Health – 3.00pm

Queanbeyan Hospital – 2.00pm

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital – 3.00pm

Tweed Hospital – 3.00pm

Westmead Hospital – 2.30pm

Waratah Mental Health Branch – 2.30pm

Friday. 1 March

Macksville Hospital – 2.00pm

Macquarie Hospital – 1.30pm

Manilla District Hospital – 2.00pm

Murwillumbah Hospital – 3.00pm

Tamworth Hospital – 11.30am

As at 5.00pm today, 25 February, the following branches had notified a vote in favour of the claim:

Local Health District – Branch Name

Central Coast Local Health District – Long Jetty Continuing Care
Central Coast Local Health District – Woy Woy Hospital
Far West Local Health District – Broken Hill Base Hospital
Hunter New England Local Health District – Gunnedah District Hospital
Hunter New England Local Health District – Hunter Metropolitan Community Nurses
Hunter New England Local Health District – Maitland Hospital
Hunter New England Local Health District – Maitland Mental Health Unit
Hunter New England Local Health District – Merriwa Multi Purpose Service
Hunter New England Local Health District – Moree District Hospital
Hunter New England Local Health District – Morisset Hospital
Hunter New England Local Health District – Muswellbrook District Hospital
Hunter New England Local Health District – Nexus Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit
Hunter New England Local Health District – Werris Creek District Hospital
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District – David Berry Hospital
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District – Illawarra Shoalhaven Mental Health Nurses
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District – Shoalhaven District Hospital
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District – Wollongong Hospital
Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network – Justice Health Court Liaison
Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network – Justice Health Mid North Coast
Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network – Justice Health Nursing Managers Statewide
Mid North Coast Local Health District – Coffs Harbour Hospital
Mid North Coast Local Health District – Coffs Harbour Mental Health Nurses
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Albury Base Hospital
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Albury Mental Health Community Nurses
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Boorowa District Hospital
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Griffith Base Hospital
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Hay Health Service
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Leeton District Hospital
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Murrumburrah-Harden District Hospital
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Tumbarumba Health Service
Murrumbidgee Local Health District – Young District Hospital
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District – Nepean Mental Health
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District – Portland District Hospital
Northern NSW Local Health District – Byron Bay District Hospital
Northern NSW Local Health District – Grafton Base Hospital
Northern NSW Local Health District – Maclean Health Service
Northern NSW Local Health District – Tweed Heads Community Nurses
Northern Sydney Local Health District – Mona Vale Hospital
Northern Sydney Local Health District – Royal North Shore Hospital
Northern Sydney Local Health District – Ryde Hospital and Community Health Service
South Eastern Sydney / Illawarra – SESIAHS Senior Nurse Managers
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – Prince of Wales Hospital
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – Randwick/Botany Community Nurses
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – Royal Hospital For Women
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – St George Community Nurses
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – St George Hospital
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – Sydney Dental Hospital
South Western Sydney Local Health District – Fairfield Community Health
South Western Sydney Local Health District – Macarthur Hospital
South Western Sydney Local Health District – Macarthur Mental Health
Southern NSW Local Health District – Batemans Bay Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health District – Bega District Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health District – Braidwood District Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health District – Crookwell District Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health District – Goulburn Mental Health
Southern NSW Local Health District – Moruya District Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health District – Pambula District Hospital
Southern NSW Local Health District – Yass District Hospital
Sydney Local Health District – Canterbury Hospital
Sydney Local Health District – Concord Centre for Mental Health
Sydney Local Health District – Concord Repatriation General Hospital
Western NSW Local Health District – Bathurst Hospital
Western NSW Local Health District – Dubbo Base Hospital
Western NSW Local Health District – Mudgee District Hospital
Western NSW Local Health District – Orange and Region Community Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol
Western NSW Local Health District – Orange Base Hospital
Western NSW Local Health District – Parkes District Hospital
Western Sydney Local Health District – Blacktown Hospital

267 NSWNMA branches, representing more than 33,000 public-sector nurses and midwives throughout NSW, are eligible to vote.

Branches must vote by 4.00pm this Friday, 1 March. If approved by the branches the NSWNMA will then seek to have the claim incorporated into the new Public Health System Nurses & Midwives (State) Award, which replaces the current award when it expires on June 30 this year.

A key feature of the claim is guaranteed, safer nursing levels for seriously ill children, emergency departments and rural hospitals and multipurpose services, and safer nursing and midwifery staffing arrangements in community health services.

The claim also includes two 2.5 per cent per year payrises, which will provide the majority of experienced, full-time nurses and midwives with a payrise of more than $70.00 per week, or more than $3800.00 per year, by July 2014.

NSWNMA general secretary, Brett Holmes, said the introduction of safer staffing arrangements in NSW hospitals and community health services was always going to be done over time.

“Nurses and midwives working under the first round of compulsory, minimum ratios are clear they have provided a safer clinical and less stressed working environment. The challenge for the O’Farrell Government is to build on this and ensure every public patient in NSW has access to the same level of safer care.

“After all, the O’Farrell Government is very willing to take credit every time a new batch of nurses or midwives is employed to fill the new positions created by the ratios, which were actually agreed between the NSWNMA and previous Labor government. It will be interesting to see how it reacts now that it has a chance to act in its own right and extend this reform into other important areas such as children’s wards and rural facilities.

“Many people would be surprised and shocked to know that minimum staffing levels are currently not guaranteed in NSW hospitals for seriously ill infants and children. No right-thinking person could think that state of affairs should continue.

“And what about emergency departments and other high pressure areas such as intensive care units? They also don’t have guaranteed minimum staffing levels at the moment. Things usually work okay, because hardworking and responsible clinicians ensure they do. But to continue leaving it to chance is not acceptable. Minimum safe staffing must be guaranteed and enforceable.

“It is also now time to guarantee safer staffing levels in the State’s smaller country hospitals and multipurpose services. Rural people, who do not have immediate access to the major hospitals and all the bells and whistles that go with them, are at least entitled to the same guaranteed nursing and midwifery ratios as the big Sydney hospitals. In fact, because these hospitals don’t have the same level of other resources as the larger hospitals, there is an even stronger case for them having guaranteed safer staffing resources to compensate.

“Finally, governments and health administrators are always going on about the importance of primary health care and doing more to keep people out of hospital and minimising unnecessary hospital admissions. Community health services, including community mental health services, are vital to achieving this goal. However, they can’t do it if nurses and midwives are stretched to the limit. That is why it is now also time to introduce stricter, enforceable staffing arrangements in community health services, which include a reasonable balance between face-to-face patient or client time and the time required for things like travel, research and administration.

“As for the pay rise claim, it will maintain the position of nursing and midwifery in relation to similar professions, as we prioritise this important staffing reform at this time,” Mr Holmes said.

Contact details
Brett Holmes
Ph: 02 8595 1234