SYDNEY, AAP – Nurses across NSW are set to take industrial action in support of their demand to boost workforce numbers and secure better pay.
Thursday’s strike comes a month after the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association voted in favour of historic statewide action, which subsequently saw demonstrations at 150 public hospitals.
“Patients play lotto depending which day they go to hospital,” association General Secretary Brett Holmes told AAP.
“They (patients) could get lucky and get a properly staffed shift or they could get unlucky. So our members … want to see a better health system that will guarantee that there are enough nurses … to look after patients,” he said.
Nurses are seeking a nurse-to-patient ratio of one-to-four, and a pay increase above the 2.5 per cent prescribed by the government.
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Mr Holmes explained no offer from the government has been extended to the union since meeting with Premier Dominic Perrottet, who has been on paternity leave since February.
The premier said following last month’s strike he hoped “we can provide a resolution” but noted the the issues are complex.
He said Health Minister Brad Hazzard was in “constant dialogue” with the unions.
Nurses are planning a series of rallies on Thursday, including in Sydney, Albury, Bathurst, Broken Hill, Dubbo, Goulburn, Newcastle, Orange, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga and Wollongong. The association said life-preserving services will be maintained at all public hospitals throughout the day.
The planned strike comes after some NSW paramedics took industrial action on Tuesday with similar demands for improved resources and staffing.
On Monday, the paramedics union shared photos of ambulances queuing outside the hospitals including Royal Prince Alfred, Wollongong, Wyong, John Hunter, Concord and others, waiting to offload patients at emergency departments.