Nursing has been rated the most ethical and honest profession in Australia for the 22nd year in a row, just in time for International Nurses Day. According to the 2016 Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey, 92 per cent of those surveyed identified nursing as the top regarded profession in Australia.
NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) General Secretary, Brett Holmes, welcomed the news but echoed concern from members, who are under a great deal of pressure from funding cuts and policy changes.
“Despite being in the middle of a health funding crisis, it’s nice to see the public still put their trust in nurses and appreciate the work they do,” Mr Holmes said.
“It’s a difficult time for nurses, who have been dealt a heavy blow in the past year with $57 billion in cuts to health, $650 million taken from Medicare bulk-billing incentives and significant funding and staffing structures to be removed from aged care. All this is making it much harder for nurses to care for their patients.
“NSW will lose the most from the $57 billion, with $17.6 billion in hospital funding lost over an eight year period. This is equivalent to the cost of the entire NSW hospital budget for a whole year. Obviously we can’t close the public hospital system for a year or rely on the state government to prop it up indefinitely, so we’re really hoping our nurses get the support they need and deserve from the federal government.
“Less than two weeks ago our nurses were hit with more bad news when the NSW government advised of its intention to remove the requirement to have at least one registered nurse on duty 24/7 in aged care facilities where there are residents with high care needs. In tandem, the federal government cut $1.2 billion in funding from nursing home residents with complex needs in the Budget. Both these changes are a recipe for disaster in NSW, promoting a dangerous model of care that permits completely untrained staff to manage patients with complex care needs.
“Nurses across the board will be affected. We’re expecting a significant increase in patient presentations to emergency departments once the Medicare cuts come into effect on 1 July. Add to that more hospital admissions from aged care residents and we’re really reaching a tipping point.
This International Nurses Day, the NSWNMA is asking the public to stand up for Australian nurses, who they trust the most, by sending an email to all party leaders to support safe and quality healthcare for all Australians. Visit icareandivote.com.au.
The Roy Morgan telephone survey was conducted on 4-5 May, 2016 with 655 Australian men and women aged 14 and over. Further details can be found here.
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