South Australian nurses say work proposals unsafe for staff and patients.
South Australian public sector nurses and midwives will start industrial action today in support of an enterprise bargaining claim.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA secretary Elizabeth Dabars said most issues of wages and conditions had been settled with the government but proposals for staffing levels and professional development were not.
Under the proposal, graduate nurses could be left in charge of whole hospitals or health services, Dabars said.
"Our members believe that such outcomes are not only unsafe for the staff concerned, but they potentially create risk for patients and cannot be seriously considered," she said.
The government would not agree to include aged care nurses in the enterprise bargaining agreement, affecting country hospitals, she said.
"What started out as a cost-shifting measure, moving elder-care from the state to the federal budget, is now being interpreted by the state government as an opportunity to cut the level of care that our older patients need and deserve."
From Today nurses would begin to switch off the information system used to calculate staff and patient levels in the public health system, Dabars said.
From Thursday, nurses in country hospitals will refuse to work in both hospitals and aged care facilities.
Earlier this month, the federation's members rejected a state government pay offer.
Nurses and midwives want a nine per cent pay rise over three years as well as changes to staffing levels and workloads.
When the last offer was rejected, Dabars said any government offer would need to deal with the capacity of nurses and midwives to provide safe and effective care to the community.
Comment has been sought from the SA government.
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