Nurses rally for healthier nurse to patient ratio

Photo by Peter Boyle.

For the second week in a row, nurses held lunchtime rallies outside their hospitals in support of the NSW Nurses Association campaign for a mandated minimum nurse to patient ratio of 1:4 in public hospitals. This ratio has been mandated in Victoria for 10 years but NSW lags behind.

Lower ratios in NSW have meant poorer care for patients and have also placed nurses in danger.

One nurse explained at the rally on November 10 at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) that she had been recently assaulted while on ward duty. This would not have happened if there had been a mandated minimum nurse to patient ratio of 1:4, she said.

Socialist Alliance member Peter Boyle was one of two grateful patients who spoke at the RPAH rally.

“I was brought to RPAH by ambulance when I had a heart attack in 2007 and gained a strong respect for the public hospital system and its dedicated but overworked staff”, he said.

“Most people don't appreciate public hospitals until they are brought in for emergency treatment but it is an important public asset that we have to fight for

James Data, the other patient who spoke at the RPAH rally, was in a wheel chair and is a current inpatient. He challenged Labor Premier Kristina Keneally to "come and work one night shift in the hospital to see how things really are".

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