Power of the people’s petition

Nurses and midwives from Maitland will join their counterparts from across NSW in rallies in Sydney tomorrow in a push to get improved staff to patient ratios.

The nurses will meet at the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park before walking to Parliament House where they will present NSW Nurses and Midwives Association president Brett Holmes with petitions gathered from across the state.

The Maitland contingent held two events on Saturday, aimed at securing the public support they need to force the issue to be debated in state parliament.

Close to 900 shoppers signed the nurses’ petition at a vigil at Green Hills Shopping Centre on Saturday morning and more support was garnered at a rally outside The Family Hotel, opposite Maitland Hospital , later in the day.

The nurses want ratios of one nurse to every three patients in emergency and one nurse to four patients on the general wards.

The union’s Maitland branch president Chriss   Hele said the campaign was about putting patient safety first. Ms Hele, a registered nurse at Maitland Hospital, accused the O’Farrell government of not listening.

“What we’re saying is that quality care must be a priority for NSW, the Maitland community and patients,” Ms Hele said.

About 3000 signatures of support have been collected so far in Maitland.   

“Our campaign so far was been relatively passive, having said that we collected 890 signatures at Green Hills this morning,” Ms Hele said on Saturday.

A further 1000 signatures were collected from the hospital in the afternoon. 

“Now we’re going to get active, we’re going to step it up,” she said.

The union is aiming to collect 100,000 signatures statewide.

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