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Byron Shire
May 22, 2022

Greens Mandy Nolan to hold community forum in support of nurses and paramedics

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Mandy Nolan is running an online community forum this Sunday at 6.30pm to discuss the issues facing nurses and paramedics in the region and across the state.

Locally and across the state nurses, and paramedics are struggling in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as they are being asked to do double shifts and manage effectively in health system that is struggling to cope. This has led to an increasing number of nurses and paramedics resigning in recent weeks say The Greens.

Local Federal Greens candidate Mandy Nolan points out that ‘The Northern Rivers has been hit particularly hard, with the region experiencing the state’s highest rate of covid per capita in the country.

‘Tweed Hospital has had 18 staff resign since December representing 10 per cent of its workforce, while in Byron Bay the Nurses and Midwives Association has said the situation is “almost untenable” with burnt-out nurses resigning.’

Wage reform

To address the crisis The Greens have written to the NSW Premier and proposed that the NSW state Government introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ and have started an online petition so you can show your support for the proposal.

‘Our public hospitals are in a state of emergency and it’s not because of the number of patients, it’s because there’s not enough nurses to care for them,’ said Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and health spokesperson.

‘Senior health staff are quitting in droves and thousands of nurses have been furloughed due to Covid. If the Government does not act fast to retain nurses and paramedics then mass resignations could see our whole healthcare system come undone.

‘We are calling on the NSW government to immediately introduce NurseKeeper, a plan to retain and reward nurses and paramedics during this emergency.’

The proposal includes:

  • an immediate bonus of $5,000 to all nurses and paramedics working in the public health system in NSW to act as an incentive to stay for  those currently considering resigning from the profession
  • a ‘pandemic payment’ of at least $60 per shift, in line with the initiative taken by the Victorian Government.  
  • a further $5,000 in 12 months as an additional retention measure and gesture of gratitude

Ms Nolan says that living in a border community highlights the impacts of the currently frozen wages and lack of working conditions, such as no patient ratios that exist in other states, for frontline workers in NSW.

‘We rely on a regional hospital like Tweed yet just over the border there are better conditions in Queensland and more affordable living. We have got to stop saying “thank you” to our frontline staff and start pushing for real wage reform. That is a conversation that is essential for nurses, paramedics, and midwives,’ she told The Echo.

‘You can’t keep saying that we have capacity in the health system when that capacity is based on underpaying and overworking health workers.’

‘This Government has let this state slip into a completely avoidable public health disaster allowing our public hospitals to become completely overrun and dysfunctional,’ said Ms Faehrmann.

‘Nurses are working in horrific conditions, being pressured to work 18-hour shifts for days in a row caring for more patients than they can handle. This is diabolical and we haven’t even hit the peak of this outbreak.’

Online forum

The NurseKeeper petition is now at over 10,000 signatures and Ms Nolan is running an online community forum this Sunday at 6.30pm to discuss the issues facing nurses and paramedics in the region and across the state.

Tweed paramedic and union delegate Ben Fischer and Kristin Ryan-Agnew from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association will join Ms Nolan with NSW Greens Health Spokesperson, Cate Faehrmann MP for the forum.

‘We can’t lose any more nurses and paramedics,’ says Ms Nolan.

‘The one thing we can do is pay them what they are worth. It should be fair and equitable pay and conditions for our nurses and paramedics here in NSW.’

Register here for online Community Forum

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    • No money doesn’t grow on trees, you print it out of thin air as the last 2 years have proved exposing the fallacy of ” where does the $$$ come from ” . It is all just there for the taking which is why all nurses, paramedics ,teachers ,doctors and any other amazing workers who have given their all should be given these incentives to keep going . Shame on governments expecting these folk to not be adequately recompensed .

    • $20-$40Billions of JobKeeper that went to businesses that either didn’t need or qualify for it, DID just grow on trees. Ya gotta love those “superior economic managers”.

    • What a silly comment. At least the Greens have a social conscience, which is more then can be said about the NSW and Federal Coalition governments.

  1. Great idea. Our daughter has the same problems wearing ppe in emergency for 12 hour shifts. That is not a photoshopped image for all you doubters. The problem here though is the use of staff for political brownie points like the Tories do.

  2. Premier Domicron, ripping the Health System to shreds with his “Let it Rip”. King Covid never had a better friend than Domicron. Over in WA, Sensible Mark stays the course – whatever NSW does, do the opposite and you know you’ve made the correct decision.

  3. Have been nursing 25yrs,public hospital on central coast.never before have nurses worked in such stressful conditions.staff shortages, unreasonable workloads resulting in unsafe patient care.double shifts,no meal breaks.my heart breaks for all nurses, doctors and ambulance staff

    • We all owe a huge debt to Stacey and all the medical and ambulance personel who’ve been bearing the brunt of the “let it rip” decision made by the worst polliticians ever.

      They need to walk in the shoes of these people, and those of the families of the hundreds who’ve died, and see how it feels. All they seem to talk about is saving the economy, not people. The economy is going down the gurgler as well. Along with all the sacrifices Australians have made over the last two years to keep covid under control and save lives.

      Morrison and Domicron aren’t fit to run a chook raffle.

  4. Thankyou Mandy : VOS has Retired ( 45 years ) as a Registered Nurse as my Duty of Care is enough ! The ” poly suits ” only have to do 3 years…then full Super & Cons ! We old Nurses have seen it all ! May the Young Ones have the strength/ Care / Kindness to continue !

  5. We need ICU triage protocols to be developed, including for those unvaccinated-by-choice to be at the bottom of the priority order for treatment for covid.

    This is to ensure the rest of the community does not suffer the consequences of lack of care that are created by these people, and to take the burden of decision-making away from the nurses.

    Is there any politician with the decency, and courage in the northern rivers, to advocate this until it happens?

  6. The general public gas no idea what the working life of a nurse, doctor or paramedic is. How can they? Working for 12hours plus in head to toe plastic, putting off toilet breaks till you are about to burst not taking meal breaks and repeat Dealing with life and death situations and the violent and abusive patients. Then the hospital admin you like the general public don’t have a clue because they are not in the front line and for them it’s all about numbers. Spare a thought for the graduate nurses and medical staff. Lambs to the slaughter. Put Scotty Morrison in PPE for 12 hours in a Emergency department or ICU and see how he goes. No @#$% clue.
    The McAndrew’s. Nursing family. Living the dream.

  7. The issue of better pay and working condition over the border in QLD, the call for pandemic payment shift loading like Victoria’s and Mark McGowan listening to the pleas of the medicos and nurses federation suggest to me that the answer might be in voting at both state and federal levels for Labor, the party with its roots deeply embedded in the oft maligned Australian trade union movement.

    Labor has campaigned consistently on wage justice, particularly closing gender pay gaps throughout the period of this disastrous LNP government. The last decent victory was in 2012 under Labor’s stewardship in the Equal Pay case for community workers.

    It’s great to give the often silenced victims of this issue some air time, and nothing wrong with a petition, but let’s remember the hard won gains of the wage earner have been largely achieved otherwise.

  8. This is a great incentive, but it needs to be nation-wide. Everything is not so rosy in Qld either! Some Qld Health facilities do have nurse- patient ratios but they are not mandated and are not in all areas. Where they’ve been trialled, they have been very successful, saving half the cost and also delivering better quality care. Aged Care, Midwifery and the private sector are some examples of areas which do not have nurse / midwife : patient ratios. Moreover, postnatal midwives have twice as many patients because the babies are not counted, despite needing nursing and midwifery care also.
    The Pandemic has taken a huge toll on an already overworked and burnt out workforce. So very many senior nursing and midwifery staff have resigned or chosen early retirement or different jobs in the last two years. We’ve had at least 11 on my busy unit alone! (About 25%). Only one chose to retire to isolate during covid, the others have left because of the heavy workloads which predate covid, the lack of respect or appreciation from management, the poor wages and conditions compared to QH and the list goes on.. add working in surgical masks a whole shift most of last year, dealing with disgruntled patients and their families re covid restrictions, issues with staffing skill mix as more senior staff leave and more junior staff are employed, our own extra stress re covid (whatever our personal situation) and now N95 masks and protective eyewear as a minimum all shift. Extra PPE if caring for someone likely to be infectious. This means it is hard to stay hydrated, going home with a headache, difficulties hearing and seeing through the masks and shields, and , yes, issues with our skin… not to mention stress and anxiety issues.
    Hospitals are finding “creative solutions” to staffing, which may include employing undergraduate nursing or midwifery students to care for patients, allowing close contacts to come back to work when they would normally be isolating, staff working extra shifts, double shifts and being paid overtime as an incentive to come to work in their off-duty time.
    I’ve personally seen the impact of these staffing issues on the Central Coast in NSW over recent weeks with my critically ill father being sent home because of Bed shortages more than once, only for him to collapse at home and be brought back by ambulance, in a critical condition once again.. My parents don’t understand what’s happening behind the scenes. They only see that he is sent home too early and inappropriately only to need readmission soon after. Thankfully he’s now had his urgent heart procedure and continues to improve, and mercifully is not another statistic of the broken NSW health system under too much pressure.
    As in NSW, the cracks in Qld Health system which have long been there have been forced wide open, leaving gaping holes… nurses, midwives, paramedics et al have been trying the breach the gaps but we’re tired and there are too many gaps…

  9. Just voting Labor at the up coming elections to solve all of our problems as Liz Levy suggests sound too good to be true, and it is! Where is our erstwhile present member for Richmond ? We need people in parliament who get out and do things. Hospitals need more funding Covid has just exposed the inherent problems existing in our
    system. More nurses are needed with better pay and decent working working conditions. Either we go down the same path as the US system where eventually the private sector becomes primary through default or we strengthen the the Public sector to serve the majority of the population.
    Frank Ball


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