FOURTEEN nurses’ union branches across the region have voted in favour of a claim for guaranteed nursing levels in rural hospitals and a pay rise.
The NSW Nurses’ and Midwives’ Association wants the same mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios in rural hospitals as in large metropolitan hospitals, the introduction of minimum compulsory ratios in various children’s units, the introduction of ratios to units such as the emergency department, mandated client/patient time in community health, and better ratios in mental health.
The claim also includes a 2.5 per cent pay rise each year, which will provide most full-time nurses and midwives with an extra $3800 each year by July 2014.
The association will present the claim to the state government this week, with the aim of having it incorporated into the award that will replace the current agreement after June.
Association general secretary Brett Holmes said record numbers of nurses and midwives voted for the claim.
“The strong vote also sends a clear message to the state government about the nurses’ and midwives’ determination to maintain and extend safer staffing levels,” Mr Holmes said.
He said the pay rise claim would “maintain the position of nursing and midwifery in relation to similar professions”.