The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) published this statement on December 4.
The state government’s budget and job cuts across Queensland Health are out of control, are not based on any serious clinical plan, have been announced without proper consultation with nurses and midwives or their union and are starting to threaten patient safety.
QNU secretary Beth Mohle said the likelihood that nurses and midwives will have to take action to protect patient safety, in many Queensland Health facilities and services, is increasing by the day.
She said: “Nurses and midwives have a professional responsibility, under law, to practise in a safe and competent manner; and make known to an appropriate person or authority any circumstance, including inadequate staffing or skill mix, that may compromise professional standards, or any observation of questionable, unethical or unlawful practice.
“In summary, this means all nurses and midwives, whether in management or at the bedside, are personally accountable for the provision of safe and competent nursing and midwifery.
“That’s why Queensland Health nurses and midwives across the state are now looking at their staffing levels and support resources, and are assessing them against the number of patients they have to care for. To protect patient safety and their own professional position they will start matching the service provided or the beds available to the resources, including staff resources, provided by the state government.
“The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board is already on notice that its decision to cut leave replacement for nurses and midwives at the Toowoomba Base Hospital could see beds closed there.
“The QNU will do its best to promptly announce, publicly, when any services or bed numbers are being reduced to safely match the staff and support resources provided.”