Nurses and midwives to hold mass meeting on Tuesday

Nurses and midwives will participate in a mass meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the NSW budget, their current wages and conditions offer and the NSW government’s refusal to address extreme workload issues impacting safe patient care inside public hospitals.

Hundreds of NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members will join the meeting at Sydney Town Hall from 2pm or participate online from regional locations and consider next steps in their campaign for shift by shift staffing ratios.

On Friday evening, the Ministry of Health filed a dispute in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to prevent the NSWNMA branches who voted for stop work, for various hours (from 1hr to 24hrs), from taking the action to attend.

After eight hours in the IRC on Saturday, orders were made against the NSWNMA in relation to the stop work actions. The IRC orders only apply to planned stop work actions and not the member meeting itself.

NSWNMA Acting General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said in considering last week’s NSW budget and the Ministry of Health’s wages and conditions offer, the NSWNMA Council had expressed support for members’ pursuit of safe staffing ratios.

“There’s widespread dissatisfaction amongst our members over the NSW government’s refusal to even consider safe staffing ratios, what’s been outlined in the budget, and serious transparency concerns about the announced workforce enhancements and regional incentives,” said Ms Candish.

“The government is continuing to ignore the pleas of highly-skilled clinical professionals who remain extremely worried about the delivery of safe patient care now and into the future.

“A key concern is how little this health funding is targeted. Our members need these taxpayer dollars to be delivered directly into nursing and midwifery staffing, rather than the thousands of dollars our members report being spent right now on cupcakes. The insensitivity is offensive, given we still have nurses and midwives working understaffed every day.”

NSWNMA Acting Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said the current staffing crisis would drag on until the widespread workloads and skill mix issues were addressed.

“Shift by shift ratios are the solution. Our healthcare system needs fundamental reform and our members are desperate to be heard because the current shortages are everywhere, from specialty to specialty, from emergency departments to maternity units,” said Mr Whaites.

“Until our members experience improvements to their workloads or witness meaningful changes to address workload fatigue, sadly, we’ll continue to see nurses and midwives leaving NSW, or the profession all together. They are done.”

The closed Special General Meeting of the NSWNMA will be held at Sydney Town Hall from 2pm on Tuesday and broadcast to seven regional hubs, as well as online.

Participating NSWNMA branches are working with local management to ensure life-preserving patient care will be maintained in all public hospitals and health services.

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