Nurses rally for ratios in Grafton

Members of Grafton Base Hospital Branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) will participate in a ratios rally at Gordon Wingfield Park near the hospital on Thursday afternoon (19 March).

As part of a statewide campaign for improved nurse-to-patient ratios throughout public hospitals, local nurses and midwives will seek support from the community as well as local decision makers to achieve six nursing hours per patient day at Grafton Base Hospital.

Nurse staffing arrangements within metropolitan and large regional public hospitals are based on a ‘nursing hours per patient day’ formula, which equates to a nurse-to-patient ratio.

Currently, patients presenting to Grafton Base District Hospital are allocated five nursing hours per patient day – this translates into a nurse-to-patient ratio of one nurse to five patients on day shifts. Meanwhile, medical and surgical wards in Coffs Harbour are allocated 5.5 nursing hours per patient day and Sydney tertiary referral hospitals are allocated six nursing hours per patient day, which translates into a better ratio of one nurse to every four patients on day shifts.

“We’re asking locals with the power to encourage improved ratios to support our claim for six nursing hours per patient day, which has an equivalent ratio of one nurse to four patients, to be introduced at Grafton Base Hospital,” said NSWNMA Assistant Secretary Ms Kiejda

“Grafton nurses are disappointed they’re being forced to work under staffing arrangements which offer less safe patient care than in metropolitan hospitals. The extra patient load means nurses are regularly pressured into working through their breaks and finishing work late, in order to manage their workloads.

“The nurses are also concerned patients can experience worse health outcomes, as a result of the larger patient loads.”

International research indicates after common surgeries there is a seven per cent increase in the chance of mortality for every patient added to a nurse’s workload.

“This is unfair on Grafton and the surrounding communities, who deserve equal hours of nursing care compared to those delivered in Sydney,” Ms Kiejda said.

“The nurses will be calling on all local decision makers to pledge their support for Grafton to receive six nursing hours per patient day.”

The following people have agreed to meet the Grafton branch members and discuss their health policies: Chris Gulaptis (National Party), Janet Cavanaugh (Greens), Trent Gilbert (ALP), Carol Ordish (Christian Democratic Party), Bryan Robins (Independent) and Debrah Novak (Independent).

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