Nurses and midwives strike

Nurses and midwives strike Main Image

By Kristy McBain

14 February 2022

I rise today to throw my support behind thousands of nurses and midwives across New South Wales who are preparing to strike tomorrow for the first time in 10 years. This strike has been a long time coming for our frontline workers, who have, quite frankly, been overworked and undervalued for far too long. Our nurses and midwives are striking for better staffing ratios and a small pay rise. After what they have had to go through over the last two years of the pandemic, it baffles me that it has come to this. They shouldn't need to strike to be heard. Our nurses want to give the best possible care, and this means they cannot keep working with unsafe ratios. They cannot keep running themselves into the ground. They are exhausted. They're striking because their calls for a one to three ratio in ED and a one to four ratio on the ward are falling on deaf ears. The fact is: our nurses and midwives are currently running on goodwill in a broken system.

Tomorrow, I'll be travelling to the Yass hospital to stand with workers and show them that I care—that I am listening. I wish more coalition members would do the same so they could hear firsthand what our nurses and midwives are experiencing every day. Staffing problems and ratios are a significant problem right across New South Wales. In Bega, we have a brand-new hospital, but we don't have the staff to fill it. In Yass, the ward was supposed to be closed for two weeks over Christmas; it ended up being closed for over a month, only opening on 31 January. Nurses and healthcare workers have borne the brunt of this pandemic and our healthcare system has been unprepared to cope with it. They have always had our community's back, and, as they strike tomorrow, I am proud to have theirs.