Commemorating Gayle Woodford’s life and tragic death

On the first anniversary of outback nurse Gayle Woodford’s murder, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says systemic changes need to be implemented to better protect its members working in isolated, remote communities.

ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said members had reported some improvements in workplace safety in the wake of Ms Woodford’s tragic death, but we are still concerned there are no mandatory, uniform policies across the States and Territories, leaving nurses and other health professionals at risk.

“Today we ask our members across Australia to stop and reflect on Gayle’s life and death, it is a tragic reminder that the safety of nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing (AIN) remains paramount,” Ms Thomas said.

“We’ve heard from some of our members working in remote areas that they do feel safer where employers have introduced policies that prevent nurses being sent on call-outs alone, or left in single-post positions. But unfortunately, these practices are not consistent, which shows that more needs to be done by all Governments.

“The ANMF continues to support CRANAplus who are completing a 12 month project promoting safety and security in remote parts of Australia and we need Governments to respond accordingly and introduce national safety standards with employers implementing meaningful change to protect the lives of all workers in the bush.

“Single nurse posts continue to operate as a result of a severe shortage of nurses and other health workers in isolated communities and Governments must listen to the ongoing concerns of the ANMF and other stakeholders to find tangible, funded solutions which protect nurses and health professionals and continue providing crucial health services to people living in remote communities.

“Gayle’s death cannot be in vain – we can never, ever allow this to happen again to one of our own.”

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