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April 22, 2024

Are we finally getting ratios for nurses and midwives?

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The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has welcomed an announcement by the NSW government that there will be a Safe Staffing Working Group – an historic step towards implementing nurse-to-patient ratios in NSW public hospitals.

The working group will see NSWNMA representatives working alongside NSW Health officials to plan the rollout of a shift by shift staffing model for nurses and midwives, starting with Emergency Departments.

Significant reforms

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said this announcement from NSW Premier Chris Minns and NSW Health Minister Ryan Park will pave the way for the significant reforms urgently needed to repair the broken staffing system. ‘We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with the NSW government to undertake this important reform.

‘This working group will lay the groundwork for the ratios we’ve campaigned for over many years. We’re eager to work through the staffing requirements and how this phased approach will be implemented.

‘The introduction of ratios will bring a level of transparency to staffing levels for each shift so nurses and midwives can turn up to work confident there will be enough staff in the relevant wards.

Reaching a turning point

Ms Candish said nurses and midwives have been calling for urgent action for far too long. ‘Finally we’ve reached a turning point now with a state government that is listening to our members and taking vital steps that will actually deliver for nurses, midwives and patients.’

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said the commitment made by the NSW government is a critical reform needed for the workforce. ‘This announcement today is very encouraging as it shows the NSW government is genuinely committed to reform by implementing their safe staffing policy.

A successful roll-out

‘We’re looking forward to working through the detail with the NSW government to ensure the roll out is a success.

Mr Whaites said it’s important that the process of implementing ratios is done in a way that works for both members and patients.

‘This brings the hope we know is needed to ensure nurses and midwives stay in the workforce and will also assist in recruiting more staff into the system.’

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