Nurses: enterprise bargaining

The matter I wish to raise is for the Minister for Health, and the action I seek is that he attend a full shift at a busy hospital to experience firsthand the pressures and demands that our hardworking nurses face every day. I make this request on behalf of a constituent of mine, a senior nurse working in a major Melbourne tertiary referral hospital. In putting forward her request she has asked for anonymity in fear of retribution, and that is a sad indictment of the culture that has developed in the short time the Baillieu government has been in power. The projection of such fear is something those on this side of the house are hearing more often.

To quote my constituent’s correspondence:

I have 30-plus years experience in nursing and am just as passionate about the care I deliver to my patients, if not more so, than my first day on the job.

My constituent said that over those years of experience she has witnessed and been part of many, many wonderful advancements in health care, and she maintains that our health system, despite its difficulties, is one of the best in the Western world. She says should the Baillieu government have its way in the current nurses EBA (enterprise bargaining agreement) negotiations she would truly fear for the health care of Victorians.

My constituent asked me to urge the Minister for Health, Mr Davis, and with him Premier Baillieu, to attend one of our major hospitals and spend an entire shift with a nurse on one of the busy acute care wards and specifically to experience and see the importance of nurse-patient ratios to patient wellbeing and outcomes.

I am more than happy to stand here today and convey that request to the minister. To quote my constituent again:

I do not believe they truly understand the complexity and acuity of care in the 21st century and that it can only be safely delivered by properly trained professional staff with safe staffing levels in the form of ratios.

Given not only the ongoing failure of the government to resolve the EBA negotiations with the nurses but also its obvious failure to fully appreciate how its negotiation position will erode the delivery of health care in this state, I call on the minister to take up this request, and I extend the invitation also to the Premier.

Hansard, 2012