Nurse pay dispute continues

Further industrial action was taken by nurses and midwives in South Australia last week, with a small group taking stop-work action at Clare Hospital last Wednesday to plea with the State Government to reconsider its enterprise agreement for public hospital staff.

The nurses/midwives in Clare were joined by their counterparts at the hospitals in Wallaroo and Port Pirie, in what Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) chief executive officer/secretary Elizabeth Dabars AM said was aimed at drawing ‘further attention to the failure of enterprise bargaining negotiations to resolve a range of critical measures’.

“The fact so many nurses and midwives are taking such a public stand on these issues

clearly demonstrates the significance of what is at stake here,” she said.

Nurses and midwives are seeking numerous staff and patient safety measures which fall into three major categories:

• safe staffing and skills mix to meet the needs of patients now and in the future;

• ensuring the availability of enough nurses and midwives in the future; and

• attraction and retention of nurses and midwives through better incentives and

improved safety and working conditions.

“Nurses and midwives are being expected to care for patients under often-unmanageable

working conditions, yet there seems to be no willingness by their employer to commit to

measures that can improve the situation for staff and outcomes for patients,” Ms Dabars

said.

“We’re talking about a workforce that is regularly expected to work double shifts and return for their next shift after very little sleep, and a workforce expected to provide quality care for patients in jam-packed emergency departments or triage patients in ambulances ramped outside hospitals.

“Nurses and midwives do not spend years obtaining a university education to work in environments where they are punched, kicked, spat on and verbally abused, yet this is the near-daily reality for most staff working in this sector.”

Ms Dabars said nurses and midwives were also seeking a fair wage increase to ensure their professions remain nationally competitive and attractive as career options into the future.

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