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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

NSW Upper House inquiry into rural, regional and remote health hands down damning report

The NSW Upper House inquiry into rural, regional and remote health services has handed down a damning report revealing chronic staff shortages, under resourcing and neglect of patients right across NSW, including the South Coast.

Communities across the South Coast have been hit hard by the crisis in regional health services. Nurses have described working on the South Coast as “harrowing” and the NSW Liberal Government has overseen cuts to theatre spaces, maternity, neo-natal and paediatric services, and failed to deliver radiation oncology services.

Labor Member for Gilmore Fiona successfully campaigned to change the Distribution Priority Area status for the South Coast so the community could recruit and keep local GPs.

In reading the NSW Upper House report Mrs Phillips said: “This is a harrowing report. It shows that health services right across regional NSW, including on the South Coast, are suffering from serious neglect and patients are paying the price. Cate Faehrmann, the Greens member of the NSW Legislative Council’s Health Committee. says "Nurses and midwives across NSW have been let down by the major parties’ refusal to back nurse to patient ratios, which are vital for the safety of nurses, midwives and their patients".

It was reported in the SMH today that both government and opposition members of the Regional, Rural and Remote Health Inquiry voted down any inclusion of a recommendation calling for the implementation of nurse to patient ratios in the committee's final report, which was released this morning.

“Nurses, midwives and their union know that ratios are essential to creating a safe workplace and ensuring the safety of their patients,” said Cate Faehrmann

“Throughout the inquiry we heard of horrific situations caused by chronic understaffing in regional hospitals, like a single nurse being left to care for dozens of patients with sometimes deadly consequences. The solution to this problem must include safe nurse-to-patient ratios.

“If the staffing crisis in our public hospital system continues to be ignored, we will see even more nurses resigning which our hospitals simply cannot sustain, particularly in regional NSW. If the NSW Liberal and Labor parties won’t act to legislate ratios to make our hospitals safe again, the Greens will.

“Both Queensland and Victoria have legislated nurse to patient ratios with South Australia actively considering the issue. With nurses and midwives indicating they will strike until their demands for a safe workplace are listened to, I’m calling on the NSW Government - and Labor should they win the next state election - to do the same,” said Ms Faehrmann.

Cate Faehrmann has given notice in the Legislative Council of a bill to legislate nurse to patient ratios.


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