BEGA’S nurses and midwives continued their campaign for improved patient ratios on Friday with a march through town.
A small but vocal group of nurses, nursing students, hospital admin staff and supporters marched from Bega Hospital to the Carp St office of Member for Bega Andrew Constance to express their concerns over patient safety and the inequity between regional and metro hospital staffing arrangements.
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) Bega branch secretary Amanda Gillies said the campaign is ongoing as they aren’t getting the response or respect from the State Government they feel they deserve.
“We want to keep the pressure on and keep the campaign in motion,” Ms Gillies said on Friday as the march reached the doors of Mr Constance’s office.
It was a State Parliament sitting week so Mr Constance was not available in person.
NSWNMA Bega assistant secretary Di Lang said while there was some suggestion they held their day of protest at the wrong time if they wanted Mr Constance’s attention, she pointed out Friday the 13th was ideal timing.
“It’s a black day for regional nurses,” she said.
“But the community is right behind us.”
The nurses were cheered as they marched through the Sapphire Marketplace and tooted by passing motorists as they travelled along Carp St.
A petition in support of their campaign for a 1:4 staff to patient ratio in regional hospitals already has around 1500 signatures on it.
State-wide, the NSWNMA campaign is hoping for 100,000-plus signatures by next week to present to Premier Barry O’Farrell, when a rally in Sydney joins an international day of action on Tuesday involving 14 countries.
“A pay rise is not at all what this is about – it’s not what we’re after,” Ms Gillies said.
“We are providing the best care we can, but at times we can see it happening that people are put in unsafe positions.
“Nurses are called on for double shifts on a regular basis and there is no casual pool to call upon.
“To have 1:4 we need more nurses to fill the gaps.”