NSW opposition leader Luke Foley spoke about nurses- and midwives-to-patients ratio in regional areas during a visit to Taree

Support: NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley with Myall Lakes Labor candidate Dr David Keegan and Manning Hospital staff. Photo: Scott Calvin.
Support: NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley with Myall Lakes Labor candidate Dr David Keegan and Manning Hospital staff. Photo: Scott Calvin.

NSW opposition leader Luke Foley was in Taree on Tuesday, September 4 to discuss the need to improve the nurses- and midwives-to-patients ratio at Manning Hospital. 

Flanked by Labor candidate for Myall Lakes Dr David Keegan and staff members, Mr Foley said the current ratio has left the hospital understaffed. 

“They (hospital staff) do a fantastic job but frankly they’re spread too thin.

“Our hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed and wherever I go, nurses and midwives tell me the same thing.

“I think people here would be surprised to learn that there’s not the same level of staffing here (Manning Hospital) as there is in the bigger Sydney hospitals. 

“The quality of health care you receive shouldn’t be dependent on where you live,” Mr Foley said. 

Mr Foley said consistent measures of one nurse to three patients in emergency departments and one to four on wards will assist with understaffing issues, burnout as well as stopping an exodus of experienced nurses and midwives leaving the health system.

“That’s the level of nurse staffing that is required to fix the overcrowding and understaffing situation that currently exists in all of our State’s hospitals and the same level of nursing care in the country that applies in the city,” Mr Foley said.

“You should know if you’re in for a hip replacement in Taree or Sydney, you’ll get the same amount of nursing care and we do that through nurse-to-patient ratios.”

The quality of health care you receive shouldn’t be dependent on where you live.

Luke Foley, NSW opposition leader

Mr Foley said the Mid North Coast is a growing population so supply needs to meet demand.

“We have a soaring population in this area and the staffing isn't matching the population growth,” Mr Foley said. 

“I was told in Old Bar for example, that’s one of the fastest school populations of anywhere in the State so we know there’s a younger demographic as well here so there’s great pressure in this hospital when it comes to new mothers and babies.”

Mr Foley will visit rural based hospitals this week to discuss the issue.