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March 24, 2023

Labor claims they will deliver on nurse ratios

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Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh at Ballina Hospital with local nurses. Photo supplied.

Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh is highlighting Labor commitment to increasing nurse to patient ratios in regional NSW as he meets with nurses from Ballina hospital today.

‘This is about improving patient care,’ said Mr Pugh.

‘We have a health and hospital system under enormous pressure. By expanding our commitment to better nurse-to-patient ratios to regional and rural NSW we can give patients in hospitals like Ballina hospital the best possible care and attention.’

Nurses perspective

Andrew Eadie President of the Ballina branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association said, ‘In regional areas nurses can be responsible for five to ten acute patients, sometimes more. Having ratios will mean we can continue to guarantee quality of care.  We are recommending that there is a ratio of three patients to one nurse in emergency; on wards four patients to one nurse during the day and seven patients to one nurse at night. Currently it is not uncommon to end up with one nurse to seven acute care patients in emergency.

‘The problem we are seeing is that with these workloads nurses are burning out, leaving the profession, retiring early or moving to Queensland where they have ratios.’

Currently when staffing maternity wards the system does not count the baby as a patient and this can have a significant impact provision of care pointed out Mr Eadie.

‘We also fully support ratios being extended to aged care as currently they are suffering from chic under staffing,’

Overworked says Foley

Labor government will employ hundreds more nurses in ‘B’ and ‘C’ group hospitals across NSW. This will improve patient care in about 60 separate hospitals – most of them outside Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley made the announcement last week at the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association annual conference. Mr. Foley said nurses and midwives do extraordinary work but were under severe pressure.  They are overworked and under resourced due to a lack of support from the Berejiklian Government.

Labor can make this commitment because we choose to prioritise funding for schools and hospitals in our local community instead of spending billions on knocking down and rebuilding stadiums in Sydney. I know what our local community would prefer their taxes were spent on,’ said Mr Pugh.

Numerous studies show that higher nurse to patient ratios save lives as there is a clear link between higher staff levels and improved outcomes for patients. 

Nurse to patient ratios reduce errors, improve the amount of time each nurse can spend in patient care, create better workplaces, reduce stress and lead to higher retention of nurses and midwives.

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