Minns Government signs MOU to deliver safe staffing
The Minns Government has taken a significant step forward in delivering its commitment to repair the budget to help rebuild essential services by signing a memorandum of understanding with the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association to progress the roll-out of Safe Staffing Levels in NSW public hospitals, starting with emergency departments. The implementation of Safe Staffing Levels means more nurses and midwives working in our hospitals.
This is a once-in-a-generation long-term reform to how we deliver essential hospital services and will be rolled out in staged way working with frontline workers and their representatives.
As part of this staged approach, Safe Staffing Levels will be implemented across emergency departments, intensive care units, maternity services, regional and community hospitals, and wards currently covered by the existing Nursing Hours Per Patient Day system.
Safe Staffing Levels will improve health outcomes, reduce waiting times, take pressure off NSW hospitals and help retain experienced nurses and midwives in the NSW Health workforce.
This is another step in the Minns Government’s plan to turn around 12 years of Liberal National Government neglect that saw the on-time commencement of treatment in NSW Emergency Departments fall to all-time record lows just last year (BHI April to June 2022) – with commencement of on-time treatment (combined figure across all triage categories) at just 62.8%.
The MOU sets out an agreement for both parties to work in good faith to develop a process and timeframe to implement Safe Staffing Levels, which will be enshrined in the Public Health System Nurses’ and Midwives’ (State) Award. It also includes important principles around data sharing and access to information.
The MOU builds on the Minns Government’s announcement in April of the Safe Staffing Levels Taskforce to chart a pathway forward on this major reform.
The Minns Government has committed to hiring an additional 1200 nurses and midwives during our first term in order to implement this important reform in our hospitals.
These changes build on the NSW Government’s abolition of the wages cap for frontline workers, delivering the largest pay increase for the workforce in over a decade.
We can make these important changes to support frontline workers because the Minns Labor Government is making the difficult but responsible decisions with spending.
NSW faces rampant inflation, rising interest rates and the largest debt in the state’s history, but we are committed to ensuring that the state is prepared to get on top of these challenges.
It’s why the Minns Labor government is setting out a long-term plan to gradually repair the budget in a sustainable way, to reprioritise spending to where it is needed most, and to rebuild the essential services that we all rely on.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said:
“We made a promise to the people of NSW to implement Safe Staffing Levels in NSW public hospitals, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.
“This will make a world of difference for health workers like Suzie who I met in Penrith. She became a midwife after a career change but was already burnt out as a result of understaffing on her shifts.
“Our government is getting on with the job of implementing our commitment to repair the budget while rebuilding our essential services.”
NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said:
“By managing our finances responsibly, we can deliver the essential healthcare services our community deserves and reinvest in our frontline workers.
“The former government left NSW with a record level of debt and more than $7 billion worth of promises they could not pay for.
“The Minns Labor Government is making the prudent and necessary decisions to fix the fiscal mess left by the former government and ensure we can fund the essential services people rely on.”
Health Minister Ryan Park said:
“We are focussed on fixing wait times for healthcare and improving health outcomes for our community.
“We are also committed to supporting the more than 53,000 nurses and midwives who form the backbone of the NSW health system.
“Safe Staffing Levels will support better health outcomes for patients while also attracting and retaining more skilled nurses and midwives in the NSW health system.”