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NZNO President Calls for Nurse to Patient Ratios

NZNO President Calls for Nurse to Patient Ratios

"Mandated nurse to patient ratios will bring our nurses back to nursing and make our hospitals safer for patients," said New Zealand Nurses Organisation president Jane O'Malley at the opening day of NZNO's annual conference in Rotorua today.

Jane O'Malley has made a strong call for mandated minimum nurse to patient ratios in our public hospitals.

"New Zealand nurses have had enough of unmanageable workloads, staff shortages and unpaid overtime," said Jane O'Malley.

"Far too many nurses are leaving nursing because of work overload and many nurses feel demoralised because they can not deliver the care they went into nursing to provide."

Jane O'Malley said New Zealand was not alone in the problem of nurses leaving nursing because of work overload and understaffing.

"The good news is the problem can be fixed," she said.

Jane O'Malley said New Zealand could look to Victoria, Australia where the Nurses Union sucesssfully campaigned for the introduction of nurse to patient ratios in 2001.

"Since legally binding ratios were established in Victoria in 2001, over 4000 nurses have returned to Victoria's hospitals," she said.

In addition to bringing nurses back to nursing Jane O'Malley said that international research showed that higher nurse to patient ratios are a major factor in lower mortality rates and better patient outcomes in hospitals.

"Clearly adequate nurse to patient ratios are needed to nurse our hospitals back to health," said Jane O'Malley.

Jane O'Malley said NZNO would work with its members to establish appropriate ratios and would seek public and government support for their implementation.

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