Campaigners for the introduction of mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios in NSW have rallied outside the Orange hospital.
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The protestors have called for a minimum of one nurse to every four patients, as is the law in Queensland and Victorian hospitals.
Bloomfield Hospital nurse Angela Walton said the group was frustrated by the disparity in regulations between states and irregularities between metropolitan and regional hospitals.
“Regional and rural hospitals have a different staff profile to metropolitan hospitals which means less nurses on duty at one time,” she said.
“It means patients are missing out on the same level of care. The people of Orange deserve the same high standard.”
Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association from the Orange Health Service branch attended the rally to protest the current staffing model, which they said put patient safety at risk.
The association said a more reliable staffing system with guaranteed minimum ratios would create a safer environment for patients.
Bloomfield nurse Fraser McLelland said hospitals with more nurses had shorter patient stays and less deaths.
He said nurses at Bloomfield regularly worked eight hour shifts with no breaks because there was no one to relieve them and patients in mental health care facilities required extra time from nurses to feel supported.
“If people don’t feel cared for it increases their risk,” he said.
Member for Orange Phil Donato attended the rally to support the campaign.
He said he would continue to raise the issue in parliament and push for the introduction of a mandatory nurse-to-patient ratio.
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