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Message from ANF State Secretary Janet Reah.
Dear ANF members and public supporters,
Your endorsement and dedication over the last year since we first started ramping up this campaign has been invaluable.
If you aren’t an ANF member reading this - then you’re most likely one of our many supporters among the public who undoubtedly would know, are related to, or have a loved one who is a nurse, midwife or carer across WA’s health system.
When we began this campaign last year, the then McGowan WA Labor Government told the Australian Nursing Federation it was open to exploring how nurses' workload concerns can be addressed and that they would work with us to achieve a fair pay rise.
Fast forward a year and we have seen little progress from the now Cook Government, but more digression. If you have been into a WA hospital recently, you would have seen the chaos, beds in corridors, ambulance ramping queues out the door, and an overworked, under-rewarded work force.
We also had a promise for ratios from Health Minister Sanderson last year within two years… that is before the 2025 State Election. So far, we have seen no state-wide rollout timeline from WA Labor, making their two-year achievement impossible.
Nearly one year in and we have only achieved a “pilot program” for nurse-to-patient ratios. In one ward of one hospital - Perth Childrens Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Even now, they do not have a fully staffed supernumerary resuscitation team – one of the key recommendations from the coroner’s report into the death of Aishwarya Aswath. And the PCH ED still does not have a fully staffed roster every day.
With one year to go, this Health Minister will not be able to achieve this promise, yet another broken promise to add to her and WA Labor’s pile since being elected in 2017 on the ultimate promise of fixing WA’s health system.
If the health system was in an apparent ‘crisis’ then, what do we call it now?
There is a direct correlation between WA’s lagging nursing salaries, with WA nurses and midwives now being the lowest paid in the country for the first time in decades, and the mass exodus of nurses and midwives leaving the state or leaving the profession entirely.
In 2017, when WA Labor came to power, WA nurses and Midwives were the highest paid in Australia. This government needs to acknowledge the problem and reverse this process before we reach a critical state, like in the UK or the USA.
That is why the ANF has committed to a hard-hitting campaign for a fair and necessary 5% pay rise and enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios – “no more than four” – is the natural progression of the great push we saw last year and is aimed at raising public awareness so we can all stand in solidarity in order to help fix WA’s shambolic public health system.
Because the suffering only starts with our nurses and midwives, it’s the public whose health is put at risk when there aren’t enough staff to take care of you. It is vital WA remains a real competitor with the rest of Australia. That won’t happen if we remain the lowest paid in the country.
Now, in this new stage of the campaign, we need your support - now more than ever - in order to do what we need to help all Western Australians, that starts with replenishing our depleted and deflated work force.
You can show your support by writing or emailing your local MP and telling them that WA nurses and midwives deserve a far better deal than the one the government offered in November last year.