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Union petitions govt over reentry fees

NSW Nurses’ Association is circulating a petition to trigger a parliamentary debate on the cost of the state’s re-entry to practice course.

The NSW Nurses’ Association is petitioning the state government to help fund the cost of the $10 000 re-entry program for nurses seeking to return to the workforce.

The union is hoping to obtain at least 10,000 signatures by the end of March so it can force a state parliamentary debate on the cost of the course.

The circulating petition requests the immediate release of funding to increase the number of nurses able to complete the course.

It also calls for the NSW parliament to support the development of additional courses accredited by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council for delivery by local health districts. The College of Nursing in Sydney is currently the only approved provider of the course in NSW.

The cost of the program and location of the training have been cited as barriers to re-entry, especially for nurses in rural and remote NSW.

"This is making it more difficult for NSW to deal with the shortage of nurses and midwives facing our public and private hospitals, health services and aged care facilities," NSWNA assistant secretary Judith Kiejda said.

The eight-week course is run only in Sydney and there is no approved midwifery re-entry course in NSW.

"We are asking the people of NSW to support this campaign, as we need as many people coming back to nursing and midwifery as we can get," Kiejda said.

"Cost and geographical barriers should not be put in their way."

Under NSW parliamentary rules a debate is offered for petitions with 10,000 signatures or more.

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