Greens Launch NurseKeeper Campaign for Nurses and Paramedics
In response to an alarming number of exhausted and burnt out nurses and paramedics in NSW resigning in recent weeks with threats of more to come, the Greens have today written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’, a campaign launched today calling on the NSW Government to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics.
“Our public hospitals are in a state of emergency and it’s not because of the number of patients, it’s because there’s not enough nurses to care for them.
“Senior health staff are quitting in droves and thousands of nurses have been furloughed due to Covid. If the Government does not act fast to retain nurses and paramedics then mass resignations could see our whole healthcare system come undone,” said Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and health spokesperson.
“We are calling on the NSW government to immediately introduce NurseKeeper, a plan to retain and reward nurses and paramedics during this emergency.
- an immediate bonus of $5,000 to all nurses and paramedics working in the public health system in NSW to act as an incentive to stay for those currently considering resigning from the profession
- a ‘pandemic payment’ of at least $60 per shift, in line with the initiative taken by the Victorian Government.
- a further $5,000 in 12 months time as an additional retention measure and gesture of gratitude
“This Government has let this state slip into a completely avoidable public health disaster allowing our public hospitals to become completely overrun and dysfunctional.
“Nurses are working in horrific conditions, being pressured to work 18-hour shifts for days in a row caring for more patients than they can handle. This is diabolical and we haven’t even hit the peak of this outbreak,” said Cate.
Mandy Nolan, Byron Shire Community Advocate said “the frontline is the ED's and ICUs that are overflowing with Covid patients, and our nurses and paramedics are the ones who are getting us through. But they're human. They can only take so much.
“The only way we are going to get through this pandemic is by supporting the people who support us: our nurses and paramedics. They are out there every day, doing double shifts, doing the hard lifting in this pandemic. Two years on they're at breaking point.
“Every time a nurse walks it's a sign this government has failed to provide adequate support to our health workers. Let's keep our nurses. Let's keep our paramedics. Let's keep pushing for fair wages.
“Tweed Hospital is in trouble. How are they going to retain staff when nurses in Queensland get better pay, have better conditions and work with ratios? There's no incentive to stay working in the NSW Health system and that is going to hurt our communities. We need to support our nurses so they can support us,” said Mandy.
The campaign includes targeted social media ads and emails to reach an initial goal of 10,000 emails to the Premier Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard.