Second statewide strike for nurses and midwives

Thousands of nurses and midwives will strike tomorrow across the state, with many walking off the job for 24-hours from 7am, over the NSW government’s failure to act on the staffing crisis in public hospitals despite an initial statewide strike six weeks ago (15 February).

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) branch members will hold more than 20 public rallies tomorrow as part of their statewide actions, to again call for nurse-to-patient ratios and improved maternity staffing on every shift. Thousands of nurses, midwives and supporters are expected to descend on Macquarie Street from 10am, for a rally outside Parliament House.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said nurses and midwives were demanding the NSW government address the growing patient safety concerns being raised by frontline health staff.

“Our members are increasingly frustrated at the government’s inaction to address the serious issues they are raising shift after shift, but seemingly falling on deaf ears,” said Mr Holmes.

“More than 180 branches voted in favour of statewide strike action over the past two weeks, and over 160 of those will be participating in a 24-hour strike or work bans, leaving behind staff to provide life-preserving care.

“Despite their pleas for more support from the government, nurses and midwives are extremely fatigued from working double shifts and increased amounts of overtime, because of the growing gaps in staffing rosters.

“We need the NSW government to sit down with us for meaningful talks about our claim for shift by shift nurse-to-patient ratios, improved maternity staffing and a modest pay rise.

“What nurses and midwives are asking for is not unreasonable. We’re simply calling on the government to prioritise patient care and commit to a safe staffing model with a guaranteed minimum number of nurses and midwives on every shift.”

The NSWNMA has had no offer from the government since meeting with the NSW Premier on 21 February.

The 24-hour statewide strike will begin at 7am for most nurses and midwives taking part, with some occurring for shorter periods. During the industrial action, life-preserving services will be maintained in all public hospitals and health services. Members in flood affected areas will be focusing efforts on their local crises, where they are needed.

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