The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has stepped up its campaign for improved nurse-to-patient ratios, particularly in emergency departments.
Members of the NSWNMA Blacktown Hospital Branch have called on the NSW Government to extend nurse-to-patient ratios of one nurse to three patients (1:3) into the local emergency department.
Only selected wards in metropolitan public hospitals currently have ratios of one nurse to four patients in place, however, this does not include emergency departments. International research indicates that increasing the amount of nursing care leads to better health outcomes for patients.
Shyam Kalia, president of Blacktown Hospital Branch of the NSWNMA, said local nurses and midwives were committed to safe patient care and a well resourced public health system.
“It’s important the Blacktown community is aware of what their local nurses are up against when trying to deliver safe patient care in our emergency departments,” Mr Kalia said.
“Our branch members here at Blacktown are concerned about recent health funding cuts in the federal and state budgets and what that means for ratios of 1:3 being mandated across emergency departments.
“Nurses and midwives are the first to point out the adverse impact any form of GP co-payment would have on our already stretched emergency departments, as many disadvantaged members of the community were likely to seek treatment from public hospitals to avoid the financial burden.
“The NSW Government must make ratios in emergency departments a priority, so that our members can deliver the safest possible care to patients.
“We will continue campaigning around these issues and ensure that the community is well informed.”
NSWNMA members from the Blacktown Hospital Branch held a short rally outside the emergency department this afternoon to raise awareness of the 1:3 in ED ratios campaign. They’re seeking support from the community to write to local State MPs and visit www.backyournurses.org or www.facebook.com/safepatientcare.