SOUTH Coast Labor candidate Annette Alldrick has welcomed a NSW Labor pledge to deliver hundreds more nurses across the state through new nurse to patient ratios.
At the recent NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association annual conference, Labor leader Luke Foley pledged to employ hundreds more nurses in “B” and “C” group hospitals across the state, which would include Shoalhaven and Milton hospitals.
Mr Foley said the move would improve patient care in about 60 separate hospitals – most of them outside Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle.
Mrs Alldrick, a former secretary of the Shoalhaven Hospital’s Nurses and Midwives’ Association, who has long fought for such commitments, said it was a move in the right direction.
“B and C group hospitals take in both the Shoalhaven and Milton,” she said “this is a move that can only be good for patient treatment and welfare.”
The proposal would see nurse to patient ratios of one to four in medical and surgical wards, bringing country areas in line with some of the larger Sydney hospitals. A return to ratios of one nurse to three patients in emergency and pediatrics was also promised.
“We have been fighting for this for a good 10 years,” Mrs Alldrick said.
“These moves lead to far safer care for patients and much less burnouts and stress for nurses.”
Mrs Alldrick has worked at Shoalhaven District Hospital for 15 years during which time she says she has “seen the hospital stagnant while the population has grown exponentially - not just the permanent population but the holiday population.
“We need this hospital to grow with the community. We need more beds before we need a car park - and we need the nurses and midwives to look after those patients.”
Health Minister, Brad Hazzard also spoke at the annual conference, recognising the role and responsibility of the ministry to make sure local health districts were acting responsibly when it came to safe staffing.
He vowed to follow up concerns from members around staffing issues at their facilities.
“We can’t always agree but I will listen and I will fight on your behalf,” he said.