NURSES will stage strikes across the Coffs Coast tomorrow seeing minimal hospital and ward staff on duty for two hours from 11am.
More than 160 NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) workplace branches have now notified the NSWNMA office that they will join the industrial action.
The Nurses Association says its to protest against the O'Farrell Government's failure to provide guaranteed, safe nurse staffing levels in all public hospitals.
Nurses are calling for equal ratios in country public hospital clinical units and community health services.
Tomorrow striking staff will attend a special general meeting of the NSWNMA.
"During the strike life-preserving services will be maintained in all hospitals and community health services," NSWNMA general secretary, Brett Holmes, said.
The first round of enforceable, minimum nurse-to-patient ratios were introduced into general medical and surgical wards in most NSW hospitals as part of the 2010-11 award negotiated between the NSWNMA and former Labor government.
"In this second round the NSWNMA wants the O'Farrell Government to build on this landmark staffing reform by extending the ratios or guaranteed minimum staffing to more clinical units, including emergency departments, children's wards, intensive care units, community health services and smaller hospitals," Mr Holmes said.
"We also want all hospitals to be treated equally, so that the nurse-to-patient ratios are the same in each hospital around the State.
"That means, in summary, minimum legally-enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios such as: one nurse to four patients, or a minimum average of six nursing hours per patient per day, in all general medical, surgical and acute inpatient mental health wards in every hospital throughout the State, including all country hospitals;
- one nurse per three children in general children's wards - about 8.5 hours per child per day.
- one nurse to three patients in emergency departments;
- one nurse per patient in intensive care units, including neo-natal ICUs; and
- a maximum of four hours patient contact time per nurse/midwife eight-hour shift in community health services, including most community mental health services.
A record 214 NSWNMA branches, representing more than 36,000 public-sector nurses and midwives have endorsed the ratios and wages claim, which was formally presented to the State Government in March.
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