Safe staffing levels

NURSES and midwives in NSW are currently renegotiating their award agreement with the Ministry of Health as the current agreement is due to expire this year. The focus of our negotiations centre on patient safety, and on a local level we are committed to focusing on improvements in nursing hours for inpatients in line with like surgery for city patients (for example having a hip replacement in the city attracts more nursing hours per patient than having the same operation in the country at present).   Nurses and midwives also want to focus on what is a safe ratio for pediatrics and high dependency units (at this stage there are no standards), and enhance nursing hours in the community to keep up with an ever-expanding health campus service. For example there has been minimal enhancement of staff in the areas of infection control or stomal therapy in the past 20 years. I ask the community, what is a safe staffing level for you?   The nurses and midwives of Coffs Harbour would like community support to keep patients safe on their medical journey, whether as an inpatient or in the community.   To date the O'Farrell government has made a clear decision that patient safety is not a priority and has rejected the current claim being negotiated by the NSWNMA.   Nurses and midwives went into negotiations with one agenda - patient safety.   The people of NSW deserve to be safe in their public hospitals. We know the public wants this too.   MANDY SHORT (on behalf of CH branch NSWNMA)

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