Money to embroider towels but not for more nurses

THE Ministry of Health has decided on new uniforms for all health workers. Clinical Nursing staff will wear navy scrubs. 

Originally, these were to have been embroidered with the designation of the nurse (i.e. Registered, Enrolled, etc) but the ministry abandoned this idea as “too costly”. Patients would have no way of identifying the role of the nurse caring for them. 

After representations by the Nurses and Midwives Association it was agreed that enrolled nurses would have a sleeve cuff of a lighter colour. 

Strangely, the embroidering of a health department name on patient towels was not found to be “too costly”. 

Is this prioritising the budget cuts? 

Minister Skinner makes much of the 2400 nurses employed since this government came into power. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that this number equates to approximately 1400 full time equivalent nursing positions. 

Facilities across the state, especially in rural and regional areas, are having great difficulties filling registered nurse positions. With such a shortage and many positions unfilled, why are newly graduated nurses finding it verydifficult to obtain employment in the public health system? 

Why are assistants in nursing being increasingly used to fill registered nurse positions? This does not make sense – highly skilled nurses unable to find work and patient care jeopardised by increased use of nurses with less skills. Of course, it does help the budget, so safe patient care becomes secondary.

Wow, a clever accountant discovers millions of “lost” dollars and there is suddenly a surplus. There is no mention of a review of the budget cuts or changes to cuts already underway. 

Barry O’Farrell explains that the money is not really there, it is somewhere but it cannot be used for at least another year! He is actually serious when he says this. 

One could liken this idiocy in decision making to kindergarten minds, but this would be an insult to the clever, enquiring minds being nurtured by yet another under resourced workforce – teachers. 

Please make sure your vote really counts next time.

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