Nurses Demand Immediate Action


“We’re not going away, this this issue has gotten so far out of hand and nobody’s listening to us, we’re going to make them listen to us.”

This is the message from Peggy Smith, Muswellbrook vice president of the Nurses and Midwives Association when speaking at a rally held last week.

“We can’t keep going like this, what are they going to do when they’ve got no nurses and midwives left, how are they going to run the hospital?”

Last Thursday there was more that 60 rallies held across the state demanding safer staff to patient ratios and a pay increase to reflect inflation.

Four-year-old Myla Smith was more than happy to help share her message of support.

Peggy shared this is the third time this year the union have taken state-wide action in an attempt to show the state government that they are not coping, that something needs to change.

At present the state wide directive is patient hours per day, allocating five hours per patient in a 24 hour period, which Peggy explained does not work as many patients require 10 to 12 hours care and often two nurses are required to assist.

The ratio they are pushing for is one nurse to four patients, which would allow more time with individuals to not only diagnose and treat them, but to care for them on a more personal level.

A seven per cent pay increase is also being sought to reflect inflation and work towards bridging the gender pay gap in the industry.

Muswellbrook, Scone and Merriwa nurses and their supporters gathered at Muswellbrook District Hospital last week to take part in state-wide strike action with the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association.

The rally in Muswellbrook started at the hospital where nurses from Muswellbrook, Scone and Merriwa gathered before walking down to Simpson Park, via Dave Layzells office, where they spent some time speaking with members of the community stopped by to show their support.

Nurses in Singleton also made their point at Townhead Park.

Maternity a major issue

In recent months Muswellbrook Hospital has become a no delivery zone when the last remaining obstetrics doctor being taken off the call list after decades of service.

This means expectant locals are being referred to Scone, Singleton or into the Lower Hunter to welcome their babies into the world now that the maternity unit no longer opens 24-hours a day.

However, speaking with nurses at the recent Nurses and Midwives Association rally, the situation could be much scarier than being stuck in traffic while in labour.

Concerns were shared speaking with nurses at the gathering that specialised equipment for monitoring pregnant women and their babies is not present in the Emergency Department.

“They (registered nurses) will be able to assist in delivering a baby but they’re not going to have that specific skill set that a midwife does,” Peggy Smith, Muswellbrook branch vice president, said.

“It is it is really concerning that we don’t have that anymore on offer in Muswellbrook, and we don’t really have any answers as to how we’re going to go forward without that service.”