CWA recognises need for nurse-to-patient ratios

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSNWMA) has welcomed a move by the Country Women’s Association of NSW (CWA) to throw its support behind the push for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in all public hospitals across the state.

During their annual conference in Tamworth this week, over 600 CWA delegates carried a motion supporting the call for nurse-to-patient ratios (using nursing hours) to be applied equally throughout NSW, including remote rural hospitals.

The motion, put forward by the CWA Grafton Branch, passed with a large majority following a lively debate about the current differences between the levels of nursing care in metropolitan hospitals versus country hospitals.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the CWA’s recognition of such an important patient safety issue was a vital step forward.

“Our members have been campaigning tirelessly for minimum staffing ratios to be rolled out across all public hospitals for several years,” Mr Holmes said.

“The evidence of better health outcomes when nurse-to-patient ratios are utilised is abundantly clear – it’s a key reason why ratios were introduced in medical and surgical wards within our big tertiary referral hospitals.

“At the end of the day, we want to ensure that patient safety is a priority regardless of whether you’re in the city or the country.

“We are extremely grateful that the CWA has recognised the importance of improving and expanding nurse-to-patient ratios and will help to raise awareness of this issue throughout their network and directly with the NSW government.”

CWA State President, Tanya Cameron, said health issues had been a key concern for CWA members throughout their 93 year history.

“We see this particular issue as an inequity in health service delivery between the city and our remote rural hospitals,” Ms Cameron said.

“This affects many of our rural members and that is why there was a definitive majority who voted in favour of the motion to support all nurses in their efforts to have mandated nurse-to-patient ratios applied equally.”

Earlier this week, the NSWNMA delivered a message to the NSW parliament as part of its nurse-to-patient ratios campaign. Full details here.

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