Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1578      January 23, 2013

Nurses want Gillard gov’t to act on nursing crisis

The overwhelming majority of nurses, midwives and the community want the Gillard government to do more to solve Australia’s growing nursing crisis, according to a national poll carried out by the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF).

The ANF conducted the on-line survey of members and the wider public in December, as part of its ongoing national campaign “Stop passing the buck, Australia’s nursing grads need jobs”, which is calling on the federal government to find solutions to the growing shortage of nurses and midwives across the country.

The online poll posed two questions:

  • Question 1: Should the federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek do more to fix the graduate nurse crisis?
  • Question 2: Should the Prime Minister waive HECS fees for nurse graduates who accept employment in areas of need?

More than 680 people across Australia responded, with the final results showing:

  • Question 1: Yes – 97.4%.
    No – 1%. Unsure – 1.6 %.
  • Question 2: Yes – 87%.
    No – 6.5%. Unsure – 6.5%

ANF federal secretary, Lee Thomas, said the results of the poll “sent a very loud message to the Gillard government that the federal government has a place in working with State and Territory governments in fixing the country’s nursing crisis.

“Our ANF members, along with concerned members of the public, have voted overwhelming for the federal government to step in and do more to solve Australia’s current shortage of nurses, especially the limited employment opportunities for our graduate nurses,” Ms Thomas said.

“They also believe that one remedy is for the Prime Minister to waive HECS fees for nurse graduates who accept work in areas of need across the country.

“The poll results clearly show that the growing nursing crisis is set to become a real election issue for the Gillard government next year – and it’s an issue the government must address and solve, otherwise safe patient care will be compromised and unfortunately, it will be the sick and the vulnerable who will suffer.”

So far, the campaign has resulted in more than 2,650 emails to politicians, including 800 to federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek with almost 10,000 community members signing up to show their support.  

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