New figures show a collapse in nurse and midwifery numbers at key Sydney hospitals as the State Government refuses to confirm the depth of the state’s essential worker vacancy crisis.
A snap audit by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) shows alarming vacancy rates leading to chronic short staffing, as the policy of capping pay rises at less than half the rate of inflation starts to hit home. The audit revealed the following shortfalls:
Nepean Hospital (ED only)
23 full time and 42 part-time positions vacant
102 full time positions vacant
164 full time positions vacant
108 full time positions vacant
Prince of Wales Hospital
60 full time positions vacant
“The Government’s policy of deliberately suppressing the wages of nurses and midwives has created a workforce blackhole,” said NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites.
“Nurse and midwives are committed to patient care but the combination of rock bottom wages and surging housing costs is making it harder and harder to attract and retain the nurses we need. The vacancy rates reported by our members are replicated across the state.
“Combine this with the government’s refusal to implement ratios and we have a workforce in crisis.”
Unions NSW recently lodged a freedom of information request seeking information on overall vacancies for NSW Health. Astonishingly the Ministry of Health responded by claiming “the Ministry does not hold central vacancy data.”
Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said the situation was beyond parody:
“How can you run a $33 billion health budget and have no line of sight over how many nurses, paramedics, allied health therapists and hospital workers you need?
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