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  • Nurses close beds as 'fruitful' pay talks continue

    Author: AAP

Victorian nurses have closed one in four hospital beds, forcing some surgeries to be cancelled, as they continue to negotiate for for better pay and conditions.

Talks between the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association run until midnight on Thursday before resuming at 7am Friday, AAP understands.

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One in four beds will not be available to new patients and one in four elective surgeries will not go ahead, according to a union notice sent to members.

The federation's Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick on Friday said negotiations were continuing.

"We know members are in the process of closing beds across the state," Ms Fitzpatrick said.

"But what we are focused on is the intensive negotiations which can be described as fruitful."

Thousands of members are taking part in the protected action in state hospitals as they fight for better pay and conditions.

Outpatient nurses and midwives may also stop one in four non-urgent referrals or review appointments.

The union said patients would not be harmed as two beds in each ward would be kept free for emergencies and the bans don't apply to patients whose health could significantly deteriorate.

Several specialties are exempt including nurses and midwives working in paediatrics, maternity, intensive care, coronary care, oncology and palliative care.

On Thursday, the federation apologised to patients for any delays and inconveniences and assured the community there would be no risk to patient health, safety or welfare.

The action by members started earlier this month and involved nurses wearing union T-shirts at work, refusing to work overtime and not completing paperwork.

The union has previously rejected a three per cent pay rise with an annual $1500 payment.

A spokesperson for the state government said there was hope an agreement could be reached.

"We will always back our nurses and midwives and the extraordinary work they do to provide Victorians with world-class care," they said.

The state's Ambulance Union is also locked in negotiations and is in the first stage of industrial action, with members due to vote on additional action in the coming weeks.


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