BIG WIN: Local members of the Nurses and Midwives Association call for increased nurse-to-patient ratios outside Coffs Harbour Health Campus.
BIG WIN: Local members of the Nurses and Midwives Association call for increased nurse-to-patient ratios outside Coffs Harbour Health Campus. TREVOR VEALE

REVEALED: How many extra nurses the coast has been promised

THE wards of the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Macksville hospitals are guaranteed recruitment of more nurses over the next four years.

On Sunday Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 5000 nurses and midwives would be recruited over the next four years, as part of a boost of 8300 frontline staff, doctors and allied health professionals,

The commitment came after nurse-to-patient ratios in country hospitals became a local state election issue with NSW Nurses and Midwives Association members protesting outside Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

State Labor has matched the pre-election commitment.

The Coalition's announcement pledged 45 per cent of the extra hospital workers would be based in the bush.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said nursing hours per patient day will increase in Peer Group B and C hospitals from 5.2 hours to six hours and 5.5 to six hours respectively.

"We are investing $2.8 billion to recruit thousands of extra nurses, midwives and frontline staff to care for patients, far more than Labor promised,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The "unprecedented commitment” to the public hospital workforce was said to be the "largest workforce boost in the history of Australian healthcare”.

Nationals candidate for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said, based on current demand projections, the Mid North Coast Local Health District was expecting 198 more nurses and midwives, 24 more doctors, 26 more allied health workers and 43 more hospital support workers.

"This means patients will have more nurses to look after them and nurses will have more colleagues to share the workload,” Mr Singh said.

State Opposition leader Michael Daley vowed Labor would match the commitment of 5000 more nurses if elected to government next month.

Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said the ALP would be making further announcements in coming weeks.

"We have been talking to the Nurses and Midwives Association of NSW for some time about critical nurse-to-patient ratios - the best measure for improved nursing care,” Mr Secord said.

"We will continue to have discussions with them and the Health Services Union of NSW about how we will deliver better on-the-ground health services for NSW.”



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