Local nurses strike

Nurses in Broken Hill protest outside the hospital yesterday. PICTURE: ANDREW LODIONG

Nurses in Broken Hill walked off the job yesterday morning to protest for better working conditions.

Over 20 nurses gathered across the street from the hospital to stand in unity with their colleagues across NSW who are fed up with workforce shortages and salaries.

Breeanna Braga, Secretary for NSW Nurses and Midwives Association’s (NSWNMA) local branch, said they have “had enough.”

“We’ve been trying to beg and plead for safe staffing and a fair pay rise and they just continue to ignore us,” she said.

“Striking is now the only thing that might actually get the (NSW) Government to listen and expose it to the public.”

Nurses want to see shift-by-shift ratios mandated in hospitals across the State.

NSWNMA members were joined by their off-duty co-workers for the hour-long demonstration.

Mrs Braga was delighted with the turnout and said the 60-minute protest is what they managed, which reflected the current circumstances.

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“I’m happy… I wasn’t expecting a big turn out because we are a small hospital and small branch,” she said.

“I think it’s going to make a massive impact. We are a small community and hospital and this is all we can afford because we are just so understaffed – it highlights the problems.”

Protesters were holding placards with various slogans such as ‘patients over profits’ and ‘essential not expandable’.

Mrs Brage said this was the “last resort” and believes conditions in NSW in particular regional areas like Broken Hill need to change immediately to ensure that quality of care is maintained.

“We don’t have a large pool of nurses that we can call upon to pick up the overtime and extra shifts – we’re it,” she said.

“We are a small community and we have expectations and standards to uphold.

“If we are to maintain these standards then something needs to change.”

The NSWNMA Broken Hill Branch Secretary said further strikes might be necessary if changes are not implemented.

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