In a bid to bring reforms to nurses’ remuneration and patient care, thousands of public sector nurses in Victoria have threatened to jointly resign from their jobs unless the government agrees to their demands, nurse-to-patient ratios being one of the hottest topics of the protest.
State Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation, Lisa Fitzpatrick, disclosed that she has received letters from thousands of nurses, authorizing her to resign on their behalf before March end. She also revealed to the media that nurses are unwilling to work in a system without better nurse-to-patient ratios, nor do they want to work where they are held legally responsible for a health assistant’s work. Lifelong careers in the public sector look doubtful for many nurses, judging by feedback received by Ms Fitzpatrick.
The talks mass resignation come as a repercussion of a study released by the union which shows that the Baillieu Government had closed some 1,516 beds within a span of one month – between December 23, 2011 and January 25, 2012. More than twice the number of beds closed during the nurses’ industrial action.
The union reiterated that they will continue to push the issue, publicly revealing closures until the Government fulfils its promise of opening 800 new beds for hospitals in its first term. The nurses hope is that public awareness of the figures will help hold the government accountably for it’s promises, and open additional beds to compensate for recent closures.
Ms Fitzpatrick stressed the fact that taking into account the beds closed in the previous months, the government must now make provisions not for 800 bed, but for 2,316 instead.
She further challenged the government by saying that hospital conditions are worsening and that the government is failing Victoria’s population by underfunding hospitals. If action is not taken soon, the sole thing left to do will be a post-mortem of the heath system in Victoria, says Ms Fitzpatrick.