Local Nurse Gets Listening Ear of Government


Local members of the Nurses and Midwives Association are feeling seen and heard following the state election earlier this year.

Muswellbrook Association vice president Peggy Smith she said while there is a lot of work to be done, they are encouraged by what has happened since March.

“One of the key things that they’re concentrating on at the moment is scrapping the wages cap for public services, which is fantastic,” she told The Hunter River Times.

“The other thing of course is that we have been promised our one to three in ED and one to four on the wards (staffing ratio), which is what we’ve been fighting for.”

While an agreement to drop the cap on wages has been made, negotiations won’t be able to start until next year, and the staffing is an issue that they are aware can’t be fixed overnight.  However, having the government listen, has members seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

“You can see morale has changed, the moods changed, everybody feels differently, and everybody feels a little bit more supported and appreciated by our government which is again a huge change,” Peggy shared.

The New South Wales Premier recently invited Union representatives from across a number of industries to Parliament House, and Peggy was one of two NSWNMA representatives in attendance.

“We met with Brian Park, the health minister, Chris Minns, the premier, we got to sit in question time and met a whole bunch of other MPs who actually came and thanked us for the election win and helping their campaign,” she said.

Mental health across the state still needs to be addressed, and for Muswellbrook specifically there is still no solution for the lack of obstetrics services, but the NSWNMA is determined to keep the state government accountable.

“While they are offering us lots of the things that we’ve been campaigning for, it’s not yet everything, so we will keep them on their toes and make sure that they live up to those expectations too,” Peggy concluded.