Nurses put their case for nurse-to-patient ratios to NSW Nationals

IMPROVED RATIOS: Member for Orange Andrew Gee and Orange nurse Alex Jones talk about nurse-to-patient ratios at last weekend’s NSW Nationals annual general conference. Photo: Supplied

IMPROVED RATIOS: Member for Orange Andrew Gee and Orange nurse Alex Jones talk about nurse-to-patient ratios at last weekend’s NSW Nationals annual general conference. Photo: Supplied

ORANGE nurse Alex Jones was one of 12 NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) members who met with members of Parliament last weekend as part of their push for improved health services in regional NSW.

The group travelled from throughout NSW to Queanbeyan for the NSW Nationals’ annual general conference where they called on Nationals MPs and delegates to support their call for mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

Ms Jones said she was pleased that member for Orange Andrew Gee and acting Prime Minister Warren Truss took the time to speak with her outside the conference.

“We were able to explain the level of safe patient care that residents in our electorate are missing out on compared to the care provided in metropolitan hospitals, simply because we don’t have the same nurse-to-patient ratios,” Ms Jones said.

“Country patients deserve the same level of care enjoyed by those in the city, its commonsense really.

“With the state budget due to be handed down on Tuesday (today), I called on Andrew Gee to back your nurses, and I’m hopeful he will take it on board by raising our campaign for ratios in the bush with his Coalition party colleagues.”

A NSWNMA spokesperson said while many MPs acknowledged the NSWNMA campaign to put patient safety first, some were unaware that only selected wards in metropolitan hospitals had ratios of one nurse to four patients in place, and that hospitals in their electorates were delivering less care per patient than metropolitan hospitals.

The spokesperson said data supplied by the NSW Ministry of Health shows as few as 7.77 full-time equivalent additional nurses were required to achieve one nurse to four patient ratios at Orange Hospital (based on data from October, 2012).

The NSWNMA has collected more than 86,000 signatures on its petition campaigning for legally enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios to be implemented across all public health facilities, particularly in country areas and also in emergency departments.

More information about the petition can be found online at www.nswnma.asn.au/get-involved/ratios-put-patient-safety-first/

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