Thousands of nurses and midwives across NSW are on strike today and many have marched to Parliament in Sydney as part of the 24-hour action. Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) from 170 hospitals are rallying at Macquarie Street in the CBD and in regional cities for the second time in seven weeks.
There are warnings of disruptions across the hospital network, but life-preserving services will be maintained in all public hospitals and health services.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve ever marched for anything because I am so passionate about nursing and it’s breaking my heart to see what’s happening in the nursing profession at the moment,” one nurse told 9News.
“We’ve been doing it tough throughout this pandemic keeping the hospital system afloat, we have been short-staffed and we are unpaid and overworked and we need this government to start listening,” another said.
Nurses are demanding a 4.75% pay rise and improved working conditions.
The strike comes after concerns about the health and safety impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nurses and midwives.
NSWNMA General Secretary, Brett Holmes, said earlier nurses and midwives were demanding the NSW government address the growing patient safety concerns being raised by frontline health staff.
“Our members are increasingly frustrated at the government’s inaction to address the serious issues they are raising shift after shift, but seemingly falling on deaf ears,” said Mr Holmes.
He said the NSWNMA has had no offer from the government since meeting with Premier Dominic Perrottet on February 21.
During today’s strike, the NSWNMA said life-preserving services will be maintained in all public hospitals and health services.
It also said members in flood affected areas will be focusing efforts on their local crises, where they are needed.
Original content from 9News Australia. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.