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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Labor promises better nurse-patient ratios in North Coast hospitals

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Opposition leader Luke Foley and Tweed Labor candidate Craig Elliot join nurses rallying at Tweed Hospital for an increase in staffing ratios. Photo supplied

As the state election approaches, the promises ratchet up, with the opposition this morning promising that a Foley Labor Government would improve nurse to patient ratios in the region’s hospitals.

While Labor wouldn’t put a figure to the ratio, it said it would employ ‘hundreds more nurses’ to ensure better patient care and ‘reduce understaffing problems that have plagued the public health system’.

Mandated staffing levels

Labor’s policy would introduce ‘mandated staffing levels in regional hospitals’ including Tweed, Lismore Base, Byron Central Hospital, Murwillumbah District and Ballina District Hospitals to ‘bring them into line with Sydney hospitals’.

Mr Foley made the announcement today on a visit to Tweed as part of his statewide tour to promote Labor’s policy of ‘putting hospitals and schools before Sydney stadiums’.

He was joined by Country Labor candidate for Tweed, Craig Elliot, for the announcement outside Tweed Hospital, alongside nurses who have been calling on the Berejiklian-Barilaro government to mandate that regional hospitals get the same nurse to patient ratios as city hospitals.

Overworked and under-resourced

Mr Foley said nurses and midwives ‘do extraordinary work but were ‘overworked and under resourced due to a lack of support from the Berejiklian government’.

It’s shameful that the government allows hospitals to be understaffed while putting billions of dollars into Sydney stadiums,’ he said.

Mr Elliot said, ‘North Coast hospitals are understaffed and local patients are suffering due to National Party underfunding of our health services’.

‘Labor is committed to supporting our hard-working nurses as they are an essential frontline service that our community depends on.

‘Nurse to patient ratios will make a big difference in improving outcomes for local patients,’ he said.

Labor said its ‘full and detailed policy will be released closer to the March 2019 election and will be fully costed’ adding ‘Victoria and Queensland have already enshrined nurse-to-patient ratios in law’.

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