HomeHealthHealth CareAustralia: NSW nurses speak on crisis in healthcare at fourth state-wide strike

Australia: NSW nurses speak on crisis in healthcare at fourth state-wide strike

Thousands of public sector nurses in the state of New South Wales (NSW) took part in a nationwide strike on Wednesday.

In a long-running labor dispute with the NSW state government, they are demanding a nurse-to-patient relationship to deal with hospital overcrowding and relentless workloads resulting from the erosion of public health funding and massive staff shortages. Workers are also demanding wage increases to offset rampant inflation.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) campaigned among workers at strike rallies. The SEP addressed the broader political issues, including the role of all official parties and the unions in enforcing a murderous “let it rip” COVID policy that has pushed the already crisis-plagued public healthcare system to a breaking point.

The SEP warned that the NSWNMA, which has isolated nurses for the better part of a year, is now preparing to impose a sell-out deal that would resolve nothing. SEP campaigners called on nurses to take matters into their own hands by forming independent constituency committees and uniting with other sections of workers, in health care, education and more generally.

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Victoria, a freshman nursing student whose mother is also a nurse told the WSWS that students “do a lot of internships and I have noticed that during the internship we have become accustomed to filling short staffing positions. They use us but we have little to no experience, which is not safe for us, not safe for the patients, not safe for anybody.

Victoria [Photo: WSWS]

“COVID has definitely made things worse.” Speaking of the end of a mandatory isolation period for COVID-infected individuals, Victoria said: “Now they want more people to go back to work instead of being at home and taking the time they need, which is not safe. This serves the hospitals and management so they can pay less by having their full time workers back instead of sitting at home instead of having to pay temps or temps who have double pay rates.”

The WSWS explained that NSW Labor leader Chris Minns opposed mandatory staffing. “I find it horrible. It shows they don’t really care,’ Victoria said.

Speaking of the federal Labor government’s health care cuts in its recent budget, she noted: “They put so much money in their own back pockets and into things like coal mining and oil and unsustainable energy and take that money out of nursing and out healthcare where it is needed. must be. I think the budget needs to be reviewed and I think they need to get their priorities straight.

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“Employees must stick together. Nurses, teachers, railroad workers, we all get messed up. We are all disrespected by the government. I think forming a team is a good idea. I also think that all health care workers should work together.”

On the issue of breaking with the union bureaucracy and the nurses setting up their own constituency committees, Victoria said: ‘I’m not very versed in that so I can’t give you a really thorough answer. But it makes sense to me. If you keep getting let down by the support system that is supposed to help you, what else are you supposed to do?”

Rumbidzai [Photo: WSWS]
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