Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Clarence Valley branch Melissa Lack Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and branch steward Mandy Bryant.
Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Clarence Valley branch Melissa Lack Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and branch steward Mandy Bryant. Tim Jarrett

Valley nurses give MP healthy dose of reality

CLARENCE Valley nurses have stepped up their campaign for more staff at local hospitals by meeting with state MP, Chris Gulaptis.

Following on from riding a float at the recent Jacaranda festival to raise awareness over staffing levels at Clarence Valley hospitals, members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association turned their attention to the state member.

Melissa Lack, secretary of the Clarence Valley branch of the NSWNMA said they sought a meeting with Mr Gulaptis to let him know about the seriousness of the situation at both Maclean and Grafton Hospitals.

"We are here to speak to Chris about our concerns about patient safety and are asking for increased nurses in both sites,” she said.

"We also made Chris aware we are having a rally for the local community on November 16 and asking would he attend - he is going to get back to us on that.”

The delegation also presented Mr Gulaptis with a petition of over 500 signatures calling for the NSW Government to take urgent action at the hospitals and introduce mandated staff to patient ratios.

Ms Lack said implementing staff ratios would ensure better patient care and decreased nursing fatigue which would lead to an outcome which was "overall better for everyone involved”.

When asked whether or not he understood the philosophy behind mandated nurse to patient ratios Mr Gulaptis said he understood "the philosophy of having more nurses on deck”.

"This is something that the government promised at the last election, an additional 5000 nurses, so I am hoping that is going to ease the workload,” he said.

"But that will take time to eventuate so we need something in the short term.”

The petition stated nurses were facing unsafe staffing levels on a daily basis, which was resulting in excessive workloads, questionable skill mix profiles and avoidable risks to the provision of safe patient care for the communities.

While acknowledging the Berejiklian Government's commitment to funding additional nurses across the state, the petition made clear the hospital system was struggling now.

Mr Gulaptis said he was concerned by the issues raised by the delegation and said he would table the petition in parliament and raise their concerns with the Local Health District.

"Obviously I am concerned about the numbers of nurses at the hospital and what they have to deal with on a daily basis,” he said.

"I will certainly go back to the LHD with their concerns because I am concerned about it and I think they need to be addressed.”

Clarence Valley Community Rally organised by the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association is on Saturday November 16 at Market Square, Grafton from 10 am.



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