‘On behalf of the Byron Central Hospital branch of the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association (NSWNMA), we would like to comment on the plight of health professionals currently working through this pandemic in NSW.
‘We agree that improved pay and conditions would be appreciated, not least as an acknowledgement of the increasing challenges we have all experienced during the pandemic.
‘An additional, and urgent, need is safe staffing for nurses and midwives, who find themselves in a similar situation to most most public services in NSW.
‘For many years, the NSWNMA has pushed an intransigent NSW government for nurse/midwife:patient ratios, rather than the unwieldy, often misinterpreted system that measures patient care needs on an inequitable equation of hours per day. Legislated ratios mean that nurses and midwives throughout NSW could come to work assured that there is a reasonable workload limit, ensuring that they can provide the best care possible to every patient. Queensland has ratios, Victoria has ratios, ACT has ratios.
‘If the ratio system had been in place for nurses and midwives in NSW prior to the pandemic, we would at least have had some padding in the system. Now we are down to the wire. Every shift means that we have the increasingly terrifying prospect of not having the time to provide safe care to our patients in line with our registration responsibilities. To achieve nurse/midwife:patient ratios in NSW, we need our communities to understand that improved staffing levels that will ensure consistent safe patient care delivery is a fundamental political issue.
‘We need our communities throughout NSW to support us by understanding the issue, and actively protecting our cherished health system. We can’t do it alone. Thank you’.
Liz McCall, Byron Central Hospital NSWNMA branch mins.sec/delegate.
Jenny Watson, Byron Central Hospital NSWNMA branch president.
Shauna Boyle, Byron Central Hospital NSWNMA branch secretary.