Labor’s staffing plan to make regional healthcare safer

Janelle Saffin MP says NSW Labor's hospital staffing plan is designed to over time improve and make safer healthcare in regional and rural New South Wales.

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin says Labor’s staffing plan for community public hospitals like Tenterfield’s Prince Albert Memorial and smaller Multi-Purpose Services like Urbenville are about improving and making regional heathcare safer.

Minimum and enforceable safe staffing levels will start in Emergency Departments then progressively roll out into intensive care units, maternity wards, multi-purpose services and general wards in a staged approach in consultation with healthcare professionals.

A Minns Labor Government would recruit an additional 1200 nurses and midwives into the system (above the levels outlined in the 2022-23 State Budget) within the first four years, Ms Saffin says.

“I’ve been standing with local nurses and midwives for more than a decade in strong support of their campaign for safer staffing levels in rural and regional hospitals.

“So I was pleased when NSW Nurses and Midwives Association General Secretary Shaye Candish welcomed Labor’s plan as ‘a fantastic announcement’.”

Under the plan, to be rolled out progressively, Lismore Base (classified as a major hospital), Murwillumbah (district) and Tenterfield (community) would start the process of transitioning to a system where there is one nurse to every three treatment spaces in ED, and converting the current roster system to one where over time there is one nurse to every four patients admitted to wards.

Labor’s priority is to commence with EDs and then move to other areas of the hospital system.

Multi-purpose services in Nimbin, Kyogle, Bonalbo and Urbenville, where EDs were open 24/7, would begin to transition to a rostering system where there is a minimum of three nurses rostered on at all times.

At least two of these nurses would be suitably trained in First Line Emergency Care.

Ms Saffin says Labor has made it clear that this reform won’t happen overnight.

“We are committed to working with the Nurses and Midwives Association to ensure safe staffing levels become the way to staff our hospitals,” Ms Saffin says.

“Safer staffing levels will mean better patient care and better health outcomes.”

STAFFING THE PRIORITY: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin outside Prince Albert Memorial Hospital in Tenterfield.