Workforce challenges dominate nurses and midwives’ conference

Nurses and midwives across the state have vowed to continue highlighting the urgent need for safe staffing ratios across the entire health system.

During the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association’s (NSWNMA) 78th Annual Conference, delegates debated motions to improve working conditions for all nurses and midwives, and to ensure better health outcomes for the patients and residents in their care.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, acknowledged the passing of an historic motion to appoint two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander positions to the Association’s Council and the formation of a dedicated Members Circle.

“This will ensure our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members continues, and our culturally and linguistically diverse members are represented and have an effective voice in their workplaces,” said Ms Candish.

“I am confident that together we can continue to be an even greater voice for change, and we can meet the challenges we face by working as a collective and make the most of the skills and knowledge of our robust membership.”

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, echoed the need for ongoing collectivism by the membership to continue achieving positive changes for the nursing and midwifery professions and across the industrial landscape.

“Our members have been fighting for many years to secure improvements and we are finally starting to see reform occurring in aged care, in the private sector and throughout the public health system,” said Mr Whaites.

“Our public sector members now have a signed Memorandum of Understanding which gives them reassurance the NSW government will deliver safe staffing ratios and continue to invest further in the workforce. Fortunately, the arbitrary wages policy of the previous government has now been scrapped and we can look forward to fair bargaining for our members.”

NSW Premier Chris Minns and Health Minister Ryan Park acknowledged the vital contribution of nurses and midwives to the state’s health sector and vowed to continue collaborating with the Association to tackle workforce retention issues.

“On the top of our list is repairing and reforming our healthcare system, and the only way we’re going to do that is in unison with our essential workers and of course their elected representatives, in particular the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, the people who understand what they need and what services are required to turn around the performance in the health system in this state,” the Premier told delegates on Thursday.

Ahead of the referendum on a Voice to Parliament, Yes23 campaigner and unionist Thomas Mayo and journalist Kerry O’Brien today highlighted how a Voice will deliver practical change to help close the gap and improve cultural safety.

“The Voice will save money by getting better outcomes for every dollar spent and it will save lives because Aboriginal and Torres Strait people don’t want waste either,” said Mr Mayo. “The Voice will be able to promote and bring attention to programs that are successful, like Waminda in Nowra, they’re doing really great work in birthing on country.”

The NSWNMA proudly supports the initiative to establish an indigenous Voice that is enshrined in the Constitution.

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