AS THOUSANDS of disgruntled nurses rallied around NSW on Wednesday, State Health Minister Jillian Skinner insisted the government was doing all it could to improve patient care.
More than 180 hospitals ran on minimum staffing levels throughout the day as members of the Nurses and Midwives Association called for better staff-to-patient ratios and a guaranteed four-hour cap on patient contact time per shift.
The strike coincided with the release of a report into the state's ambulance service which revealed transfer patients were waiting, on average nearly 32 minutes, outside hospital before being handed over to nursing staff.
The Health Services Union claimed clogged emergency departments were slowing down paramedics and stopping crews from getting back on the road as soon as possible.
Ms Skinner said the government had opened up more than 4000 new frontline nursing positions across NSW since the state election.
She said she supported a 2.5% wage increase for nurses and midwives and had applied to the Industrial Relations Commission to ensure those working within the public system received the rise.
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