NSW Nurses And Midwives Launch Legal Action Against State Government

Article heading image for NSW Nurses And Midwives Launch Legal Action Against State Government

ABC News: Tim Swanston

New South Wales nurses and midwives will launch class action against the state government over staffing ratios they say are leaving patients without sufficient care.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association revealed today it would file the claim to the Supreme Court, alleging the state government has repeatedly breached award conditions.

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The claim says that over 100,000 hours of nursing care across multiple public hospitals has been failed to be provided due to staff shortages.

The association said it will provide evidence of staffing issues at hospitals including Royal Prince Alfred, Gosford, Wollongong, Westmead, Liverpool and Nepean.

Shaye Candish, General Secretary of the association, said the volume of nursing care stolen from patients demonstrated how the Nursing Hours Per Patient Day staffing model is broken, and called on the government to implement a safe and enforceable ratios system.

“This evidence shows the NSW government’s preferred staffing model is no longer fit for purpose and, despite the best efforts of nurses working short-staffed, it is not delivering a safe level of care to patients when they need it most,” Ms Candish said.


“We are talking about hundreds of thousands of nursing care hours not provided on general medical and surgical wards, meaning patients may have missed timely care, such as blood pressure checks, wound care, or showers due to inadequate or unsafe staffing.

“Delays in clinical care can lead to suboptimal patient outcomes such as increased falls risks, hospital acquired infections like pneumonia, pressure area sores, and blood clots.”

Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT have introduced mandated ratios while South Australia and Western Australia are progressing with ratio mandates. However, the union said NSW has failed to follow suit.

The claim comes after numerous instances of industrial action by nurses and midwives over the last year calling for “safe” staffing ratios and better pay and working conditions.

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15 March 2023

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