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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.

By Emily Middleton

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 floor.

“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.

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