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‘Ratios: It’s a lifesaver’, say Hunter nurses, midwives

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Hunter nurses and midwives are expected to join a state-wide campaign, entitled “Ratios: It’s a lifesaver”, in a bid to fix the crippling health crisis in the region.

The “fed up” staff will launch a TV advertisement across regional NSW on Sunday 5 February, warning voters of the side effects from chronic understaffing in public hospitals.

Locally-based Labor politicians strongly pushed for nurse-to-patient ratios for more than 18 months, although that crusade seems to have taken a back seat in recent times.

Following four historic strikes last year, which included industrial action throughout the Hunter, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) is now targeting state election candidates of all political stripes to support them in their cause before residents head to the polls on 25 March.

NSWNMA general secretary Shaye Candish said the ad campaign, which urges people to “vote like your life depends on it, because one day it might”, puts health and wellbeing front of mind for voters, who will continue to lose without safe staffing ratios.

“We have lost far too many experienced nurses and midwives because NSW is the last mainland state yet to commit to ratios,” she explained.

“It’s beyond abhorrent, it’s shameful.

“NSW should be leaders in this space but instead we are being left behind.

“We know from talks with nurses and midwives across the state, they are fatigued and burnt out, feeling stressed and constantly worried they are letting their patients down.

“They’re being overworked, meaning they are responsible for too many patients and can’t safely care for our communities the way they were professionally trained.

“Our public health system is buckling the under pressure as a result.

“Patients are being forced to wait too long to receive treatment in hospitals.

“And, it’s having a ripple effect through the public health system.

“It must change for the sake of our loved ones seeking care, but also to sustain and enhance the nursing and midwifery workforce in NSW.

“There’s growing peer-reviewed evidence that shows safe staffing ratios save lives, improve patients’ health outcomes, and save governments money.”

The NSWNMA also launched a new community-facing website as part of its campaign: www.ratios4nsw.com.au

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