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Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

The fight for patient ratios and safety continues

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The rally at the new Tweed Valley Hospital gained support from the CMFEU, ETU, and the Plumbers Unions who were on the building site. Workers cheered and erected the Nurses and Midwives Banner on the hospital facade. Photo supplied

As nurses and midwives around the country fight for better staff-to-patient ratios the union decided to strike again on Wednesday.

Nurses and midwives say that are angry and hurting without ratios. Thousands of nurses and midwives walked off the job for 24-hours on Wednesday, the fourth statewide strike this year, desperate to have their voices heard by the NSW government and for widespread staffing concerns to be urgently addressed. 

NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members from metropolitan and regional public hospitals chanted as they marched up Macquarie Street in Sydney’s CBD. Their cries for safe staffing ratios, better working conditions and fair pay were echoed at over 30 regional rallies and actions from Albury to Tweed Heads and Broken Hill in the far west. 

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said the sea of nurses in Martin Place was angrier than ever, and it was time for the NSW government to do better and scrap its public sector wage cap. 

The new Tweed Valley Hospital

Around 100 nurses and midwives gathered at the new Tweed Valley Hospital on Wednesday to continue their campaign for safe staff-to-patient ratios. The CMFEU, ETU and the Plumbers Unions on the building sites cheered and erected the Nurses and Midwives Banner on the hospital facade. With the new hospital opening in less than twelve months this issue should be front and centre of the Government thinking.  

In the border region of NSW recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives is a huge issue.  

NSW nurses and midwives say the Queensland system offers better working conditions with nurses-to-patient ratios and a much higher rate of pay. Tweed Hospital already has major problem recruiting and has many vacancies with the Gold Coast Hospital being so close.

Life-preserving services were maintained in all public hospitals and health services until the statewide strike was over.

The NSWNMA is calling on the NSW government to discuss nurses and midwives’ demands for safe staffing ratios, improved working conditions, and fair pay without a wage cap. 

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