Nurses vow to continue fight

Nurses in Wellington fearing speculation of reduction in hours and job losses will continue the battle to save patient care.

Almost 100 nurses from Wellington, Coonamble and Dubbo joined forces at the Macquarie Inn to watch a live protest in Sydney yesterday.

The nurses gathered to demand better pay and ratio care from the state government and vowed not to give up the fight.

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Dubbo branch president Steve Nott said local members voted to sit-in and strike for eight hours to watch the live protest instead of rallying on the streets.

“At a regional hospital to try to go out on the streets will do more damage than good,” he said.

“What doesn’t get done in the morning shift will be done in the evening shift so it won’t help.”

The union wants one nurse to four patients in all general medical, surgical and acute inpatient mental health wards.

It is also calling for one nurse per three children in general children’s wards and one nurse to three patients in emergency departments.

The nurses broke out in applause as one protestor in Sydney said the government forced them to accept a small pay rise in their new award to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table but promised the battle would still go ahead.

Dubbo nurse Erica Hegarty said the workload was heavy.

She said more nurses would make a big difference to patient care.

“I think we’re expected to do so much but we’re not getting much out of it,” she said.

“More nurses are desperately needed in country areas where it is harder to retain staff with a heavy workload.”

Mrs Hegarty said the current staffing levels added a huge burden on existing nurses.

She said it could not continue.

“I think the government doesn’t see us as a priority and don’t want to cough up the extra money to fund us,” she said.

“They think it’s better if we were out of sight, out of mind.”