Last Tuesday the Nurses of Canowindra Soldiers Memorial Hospital went on strike from 8.30-9.30am, joining a state-wide movement to protest against pay and working conditions.
The Nurses and Midwives Association defied the Industrial Relations Commission’s last-minute order late on Monday 14th February to abandon the strike.
The union is calling for mandated nursing ratios in public hospitals.
“We can’t safely look after our patients at the moment with these staff to patient ratios,” said Sam a Registered Nurse and Educator at Canowindra Health Service.
“I work part time and am currently doing 80 hours per week to cover the lack of nurses we have available, we are acutely understaffed,” continued Sam.
“Nurses are leaving and taking jobs elsewhere where they have far less risk and responsibility,” said Amara another Nurse at the strike in Canowindra.
These issues have been going on for sometime pre COVID, but now COVID is putting extra pressure and risk on Nurses right across the country.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the protesters are calling for pay rises and legislated staff-to-patient ratios, similar to those in Queensland and Victoria.
The union said the changes were needed to prevent a further loss of qualified health professionals.
“They (the government) keep saying we’re coping but clearly we’re not. They’re not the ones inside doing the work, they wouldn’t know,” said Sam.
“To all the nurses and midwives back in the Orange electorate, and across Rural and Regional NSW, I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you at your individual rallies last week as I was required in Sydney for Parliament. Rest assured, I’m in your corner and will keep the pressure on the Government,” said Phil Donato MP for Orange.