16 February, 2022
Nurses and midwives' strike
On Tuesday, January 15, nurses and midwives from Gilgandra walked off the job at 12.30pm, and joined a covid-safe strike rally.
The rally was organised to highlight the NSW government’s refusal to negotiate on safe staffing in all public hospitals. Gilgandra’s rally was one of several across western NSW, including Bathurst, Orange, Cowra, and Dubbo, and are part of a state-wide strike by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA).
Sheree Staggs, NSWNMA Gilgandra branch president, has said that the Gilgandra nurses and midwives are calling for more staff.
“We’re calling for a pay rise because our been
capped, but Gilgandra’s main focus, is for shift my shift
ratios. Gilgandra definitely needs more nurses on the
“We feel if we had more nurses, we’d be able to provide
safe patient care.”
Mrs Staggs has said that while the nurses and midwives only striked for an hour, it’s all they could really afford to do.
“I know that doesn’t sound like long, but we are a
small facility, and we find it very hard to cover any nurses
off the floor. So we thought we’d do it over our lunch
break and a little bit of extra time to give the afternoon
shift and morning shift a chance to strike.”
NSWNMA members from 14 branches in Western
NSW Local Health District participated in the strike
and called on the NSW premier to implement shift by shift
nursing and midwifery staffing for safe patient care.
Brett Holmes, NSWNMA general secretary, said
members were sick of the government ignoring their
plea for safe staffing.
“Our members have signalled how fed up they are
with the NSW government for continuing to ignore the
need for nurse-to-patient ratios on every shift, similar to
those already working successfully in Queensland and
Victoria,” said Mr Holmes.
“The staffing crisis in health won’t simply go away
on its own. COVID-19 has only exacerbated the failings
of our health system. What we’re asking for is not
unreasonable. Nurse-to-patient ratios do save lives and
result in better patient outcomes.”
During the strike, life-preserving services were maintained in all public hospitals and health services.