Just over a week ago nurses across NSW took strike action.
Their aim was to draw attention to challenges that have plagued them for quite some time - wage frustrations and a shortage of staff.
One - the pay rise - is something that the powers-that-be should be addressing immediately. The push for a wage rise above 2.5 per cent comes in the wake of a wage freeze in 2020 prompted by the global COVID pandemic. Adding insult to injury in 2021 the NSW government offered them a rise of only 1.04 per cent.
Nurses have an agreement in place for a 2.5 per cent pay rise each year in July. Needless to say they are now effectively playing catch up on what should have come their way as part of this agreement.
The other concern that prompted strike action - staff-to-patient ratios - may be a little more complicated to remedy immediately, but measures need to be put in place as a matter of urgency to address the problem. This includes steps to bring new qualified nurses through the ranks, incentives to attract such staff to regional areas and even addressing housing affordability and availability to ensure that relocation is possible.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the government "hope that we can provide a resolution" but the issues are "complex". He said Health Minister Brad Hazzard is in "constant dialogue" with the unions.
However, the silence since last week's strike action has been deafening.
This situation is about paying attention to and supporting people who care for other people and save lives every single day.
They have continued to front up to work to support their country and communities through the COVID health crisis. They put their own well being and that of their families at risk to ensure that the community-at-large is supported.
They even step up for additional shifts because the numbers on the ground are simply not enough in many cases.
Two years into this pandemic and these frontline workers continue to dedicate themselves to caring for others - but they are tired.
Tired from doing back-to-back shifts, tired of their pleas for a much-deserved payrise being ignored or at the very least restricted, and tired of feeling unappreciated.
Saying thank you is important but these words begin to feel hollow when they come from the authorities that make decisions for real change.
Most recently there were several by-elections held across NSW and a significant cash splash was enjoyed by those communities subject to choosing a new state leader for their electorate. The number of political representatives - rallying for votes with pledges and promises - was significant.
Without a doubt the funding support being distributed was appreciated.
However, it is time for the government to show our frontline workers they are appreciated and valued.
The recent nurses strike was just the tip of the iceberg. Paramedics also walked off the job on February 17 calling for 1500 more paramedics on the road, a pandemic payment and a pay rise of more than 2.5 per cent.
It's time to hear some noise from the government on this matter - after all it is not a new subject of concern.
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