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Real reform requires realistic staffing

Proper health reform can’t be achieved while many issues remain unresolved, says NSW nursing union.

The national health reform process cannot proceed with financial certainty in NSW while the issue of mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratios remains unsettled, says the state’s nursing union.

Especially when it comes to the proposal for the federal government to fund 60 per cent of the cost of hospital procedures

The NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) have wrote to health minister Carmel Tebbutt, pointing out that any work to cost hospital procedures in NSW, so a “national efficient price” can be set for the new hospital funding arrangements, would need to take the nurse-to-patient ratios issue into account.

“It is not possible to get it right while so many issues remain unresolved with regard to the pay and working conditions of the largest component of the public hospital workforce – nurses,” Brett Holmes, NSWNA general secretary, said.

“Of particular significance i is the NSWNA’s claim for minimum, mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in public hospital and community healthcare services. “

“No real discussion about reform can occur without acknowledging the need to provide sufficient staff and funding for those required staffing levels. The issue goes to the heart of how any so-called national ‘efficient price’ for a hospital service or procedure is set.”

Holmes said any such work being done in Victoria would be doing that, because ratios have existed there for nearly 10years.

“The fact that Victoria will be factoring such ratios into its costings, is also a timely reminder that such an important patient care and staff welfare reform is possible in NSW.”

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