Nurses to vote on a 9.7% rise

NURSES at public hospitals and community health services on the Coffs Coast will vote next week on whether to accept the State Government’s final pay and staffing offer.

The NSW Nurses’ Association Council is recommending they accept the offer, which provides a 9.7 per cent pay rise, after compounding, over three years, and about 1400 extra nurses by 2013.

The pay rise will provide the majority of full-time registered nurses and midwives – RN Year 8 – with a weekly rise of $129 by July 1, 2012. Full-time, experienced enrolled nurses will receive an increase of nearly $90 a week.

The offer also includes a major reform of staffing arrangements in public hospitals, which the association said should significantly improve patient care and reduce nursing and midwifery workloads.

It includes improved staffing and transparency for most wards in all acute hospitals, large and small.

It proposes about 188 additional nurses, dedicated to resuscitation areas, be employed across 34 of the state’s larger emergency departments.

Staffing arrangements have also been strengthened in community health and community mental health services.

Former staffing guidelines will now become enforceable arrangements.

Staffing standards in operating theatres will also be updated with a guaranteed minimum in each theatre of two nurses and an anaesthetic nurse. In terms of maternity/birthing facilities, NSW Health has agreed to adopt Birthrate Plus as the staffing model for midwifery services.

Birthrate Plus is the generally accepted staffing ratio model for births per midwife in the UK and has been adapted for the NSW environment.

The ballot on this final offer will close at 5pm on February 21.

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