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  • More nurses for NSW hospitals in staffing boost

    Author: AAP

More frontline healthcare workers in NSW hospitals will deliver better one-on-one patient care and improve minimum staffing levels on shifts.

A state government initiative to provide improved safe staffing levels is under way with two major Sydney hospitals recruiting dozens of new nurses and midwives.

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Liverpool and Royal North Shore hospitals are the first sites to roll out the new safe staffing levels.

Both hospitals have begun recruiting about 70 funded full-time equivalent (FTE) nurses between the sites, with some nurses already recruited for each hospital.

The staffing boost would enable a one-to-one nursing care ratio for generally occupied emergency department resuscitation beds on all shifts, and one nurse to three generally occupied ED treatment spaces and ED short-stay unit beds on all shifts, the government said.

The changes follow recommendations from a task force established to oversee the rollout of the government's commitment of 2480 FTE nurses over four years towards staffing levels.

The changes will be phased in over the next three years.

Phase one will begin in level five and level six EDs, which treat the most critically ill patients, and will then be progressively implemented across other hospitals and departments.

Health Minister Ryan Park said the staffing boost would introduce minimum staffing levels on every shift, resulting in more nurses and midwives employed in hospitals across the state.

The task force will review the initial rollout at Liverpool and Royal North Shore EDs to help inform the roll out at future sites.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association said the implementation of minimum and enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios meant patient safety would no longer be compromised.

"It will provide crucial workload relief for our members, who have been struggling with chronic understaffing for too long," general secretary Shaye Candish told AAP.

"It will also ensure our public hospitals are safer for patients, so they receive the care they deserve."

Ms Candish said she was confident the new staffing model would help to rebuild the workforce and lead to higher retention levels.

But assistant general secretary Michael Whaites said the union hoped the initiative would be expanded to other EDs, and then ICUs, adult in-patient wards, maternity services and multi-purpose service sites.

"We are seeking further funding from the government to ensure these five clinical areas receive ratios," he said.

"Current funding means the rollout won't cover all wards and units in every hospital."

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