A Foley Labor Government has pledged to bring nursing numbers at Shellharbour Hospital up to the same level as big city hospitals, with new nurse to patient ratios.

The extra nurses to the region will assist the growing population as young families take advantage of expanding housing estates from Shellharbour to Albion Park.

Speaking today at Shellharbour Hospital, Mr Foley said the new policy would provide specific ratios of nurses to patients in medical and surgical wards. It is designed to ensure that health care is no longer post code dependent.

Mr Foley was joined by Labor’s candidate for Kiama Andy Higgins and local nurses who will benefit from the increased ratios. Currently the nurses are forced to work massive amounts of overtime because the hospital is under resourced due to a lack of support from the Berejiklian Government.

Earlier this year the Berejiklian Government was forced to back-down on its plans to privatise five regional hospitals, including Shellharbour, due to overwhelming community opposition. The Liberal MP for Kiama, Gareth Ward, conducted an 11th hour backflip on his own support for a public-private partnership.

Numerous studies show that higher nurse to patient ratios save lives as there is a clear link between higher staff levels and improved outcomes for patients. Increased ratios reduce errors, improve the amount of time each nurse can spend in patient care, create better workplaces, reduce stress and lead to higher retention of nurses and midwives.

During the 2015 election campaign, NSW Labor announced its policy of new nurse to patient ratios in emergency departments and paediatric wards. Today’s announcement builds on that commitment.

NSW Labor’s full and detailed policy will be released closer to the March 2019 election and will be fully costed. Victoria and Queensland have already enshrined nurse-to-patient ratios in law. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Patients at Shellharbour should receive the same level of care as patients in big city hospitals.

“Nurses are the bedrock of our hospitals. They make an extraordinary contribution but they need a system where their work can be delivered more efficiently – and without adding additional stress to their crucial jobs. Only Labor will bring the nursing numbers at Shellharbour Hospital up to Sydney levels.

“The Berejiklian Government has failed to provide care that patients at Shellharbour Hospital need while splurging billions on Sydney stadiums.” 

Quotes attributable to NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord

“This is about improving patient care. We have a health and hospital system under enormous pressure. By expanding our commitment to better nurse-to-patient ratios to regional and rural NSW we can give every patient in the State the best possible care and attention.”

Quotes attributable to Labor candidate for Kiama Andy Higgins 

“Labor’s policy will bring relief to our overloaded nurses, be a win for community health and add a boost to the local economy.

“Our nurses do astonishing work given their workload. But we tend to forget that while they achieve remarkable results they are only human.  This policy will give them the resources they need to continue their work – caring for the sick and most vulnerable in our community.

“Shellharbour and surrounding areas will see an immediate benefit when a Labor government in NSW is able as a priority to improve the nurse-patient ratios here. It means patients get all the attention they need, to get well.”