Nurses hit Queanbeyan streets to rally support

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Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) are hitting the streets of Queanbeyan today, Wednesday 25 June, to speak with community members about their campaign for improved nurse-to-patient ratios.

The members, from NSWNMA Queanbeyan Branch, are calling on the NSW government to extend nurse-to-patient ratios into more public health facilities and specialty units, particularly in country hospitals and emergency departments.

Currently, only selected wards in metropolitan hospitals have ratios of one nurse to four patients in place.  International research indicates that increasing the amount of nursing care leads to better health outcomes for patients.

In Queanbeyan Hospital, for example, only an extra 4.26 full-time equivalent nurses are needed to achieve one nurse to four patient ratios (based on NSW Health data as at October 2012).

June 30 will spell another year without improved nurses-to-patient ratios, prompting nurses to call on the government to expand ratios into country hospitals.

NSWNMA Organiser, Shaye Candish, said local nurses and midwives were committed to safe patient care and a well resourced public health system.

“It’s important the Queanbeyan community is aware of what their local nurses and midwives are up against when trying to deliver safe patient care,” Ms Candish said.

“Our members are rightly concerned about recent health funding cuts in the federal and state budgets and what that means for the likelihood of ratios being mandated across all public health facilities in NSW.

“We will continue campaigning around these issues and ensure that the community is well informed.”

As part of their campaign for ratios, NSWNMA members recently presented Monaro MP, John Barilaro, with a petition of more than 10,000 signatures to deliver to the NSW Legislative Assembly. A television advertising campaign is also underway, encouraging the community to ‘back your nurses’ at www.backyournurses.org

NB: Queanbeyan Branch members are holding a pop-up stall inside the Riverside Plaza from 10am-4pm TODAY, with a photo opportunity at 1pm.

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