Local nurses and midwives took to Wolseley Park on Thursday to protest against “inadequate” staffing ratios in regional hospitals.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) has been campaigning to improve minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for years, with no changes.
NSWNMA Gunnedah delegate Heather Franke said more nurses would mean greater patient safety.
“This would mean fall prevention, and the nurses being not so tired, so less mistakes would be made,” Mrs Franks said.
A nurse herself, Mrs Franke said that patients suffered because of “inadequate” staffing.
“There’s only one midwife per shift, so if someone is labouring, it has to be one-on-one,” she said.
“This means that all other pregnant ladies admitted are without someone.”
NSWNMA rally organiser Julie Ljubovic said the current ratios were not good enough.
“We seek the assistance of the current government to fund ratios, which will provide staffing levels,” Ms Ljubovic said.
“The existing staffing in all facilities remains inadequate.”
If we’re lucky enough to get a new hospital then we’ll have the staff to staff it.Heather Franke, NSWNMA
Mrs Franke said the NSWNMA had called on the government numerous times to help out, but it had fallen on deaf ears.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Tamworth candidate Jeff Bacon is backing the association and on Thursday took a pledge to assist the nurses in their campaign.
“In the city, we don’t have these problems; we don’t have situations where nurses and midwives are looking after 10 mums plus babies at one time,” Mr Bacon said.
“It’s got to change.”
At the rally, Mr Bacon launched a petition calling for a new hospital to be built in Gunnedah.
“[The nurses] just want to provide the best level of care that they can,” he said.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey met with the nurses at the rally and said it was good to see Tamworth candidates engaging with the community.
“It’s great to hear that there is a commitment from one of the candidates, but of course we’re calling for all of the candidates’ commitment during the next four years, so that we’ll see a new hospital,” Cr Chaffey said.
While Mrs Franke would welcome funding for a new hospital, she said the association was prioritising nurse-to-patient ratios.
“Our main focus is getting the ratios,” she said.
“We want to get our ratios, and then if we’re lucky enough to get a new hospital then we’ll have the staff to staff it.”