A number of local nurses and midwives, who are fed up with excessive overtime and poor staffing, gathered outside South East Regional Hospital in Bega on Wednesday, to call on the NSW government to implement nurse to patient ratios.
Diane Lang from the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association said the fight against under-staffing has been going on for the last ten years.
"What you see behind me is 220 faces, those faces represent all the unfilled vacant shifts that we've had to fill via the goodwill of the current staff, because we do not have enough staff on the books to cover everything we need," Ms Lang said.
"Some of us have done doubles (double-shifts), two or three in a fortnight, that's 19 hours for some of us, and we are exhausted," she said.
"We want the NSW Government to introduce ratios so we have enough staff on the books and on the floor, to deliver the care and the services that our patients and our community deserve."
Pippa Watts from the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association says members want to highlight growing concerns over short staffing and nurse burnout across a number of hospital wards.
"It’s part of a bigger picture it's not just happening at South East Regional it’s across the state," Ms Watts said.
"The answer is simple, its nurse to patient ratios, it’s mandated staffing levels in medical and surgical wards, ICU’s, emergency departments, maternity units, so that nurses can provide safe and appropriate care for their patients in the hospital setting."
Ms Watts confirmed the ratios the association are seeking are as listed below:
- 1 nurse to 4 patient
- 1 midwives to 3 mums
- 1 to 3 in emergency departments
- 1 to 1 in intensive care
Southern NSW Local Health District and Member for Bega Andrew Constance were contacted for comment but have not provided one at this point in time.