17 February 2019

In the largest workforce boost in the history of Australian healthcare, patients will gain an extra 5000 nurses and midwives under a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the unprecedented workforce rise over four years was only possible due to the NSW Liberals & Nationals’ strong economic management.

“We are investing $2.8 billion to recruit thousands of extra nurses, midwives and frontline staff to care for patients, far more than Labor promised,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Labor promised hundreds of nurses across NSW in its election material but the Liberals & Nationals are boosting frontline staff numbers to figures never seen before.

“Patients in NSW will now have more nurses to look after them and nurses will have more colleagues to share the workload – all due to our strong economic management.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said almost half the new nurses and midwives employed will be in regional areas. In total, 8300 frontline staff, including doctors, allied health and other professionals will be added to the workforce, with 45 per cent in the regions.

“Whether you are in Byron or Bombala, Broken Hill or Bulahdelah, Wagga Wagga or Walgett, you will get the care you need, much closer to home,” Mr Barilaro said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said nursing hours per patient day will increase dramatically in Peer Group B and C hospitals across NSW, from 5.2 hours to six hours and 5.5 to six hours respectively.

“This increase in nurse numbers equates to even higher nurse to patient ratios than the NSW Nurses & Midwives’ Association asked for and leaves Labor’s promises in the dust,” Mr Hazzard said.

“No other State or Territory in Australia could match this commitment and the only reason we can deliver it is thanks to eight years of strong economic management.”

The NSW Liberals & Nationals have boosted the nursing and midwifery workforce by almost 20 per cent to 51,890 while in Government, and the number of doctors has soared 35 per cent to 12,100 – huge increases compared to the workforce under Labor. In total 16,000 extra frontline health staff have been employed since 2011, up 23 per cent on Labor.

The new investment will fund targeted areas of services and workforce including:

  • More nurses: 5000 nurses and midwives across regional and metropolitan areas of NSW, including mental health and residential care nurses;
  • More doctors: 1060 more doctors to enhance response times for patients waiting in emergency departments, for elective surgery, and to access psychiatric care;
  • More allied health staff: 880 additional allied health staff including pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists; and
  • More support staff: 1360 hospital support staff.

“The Liberals & Nationals Government has built or upgraded more than 100 hospitals and health facilities since elected, with 100 more underway,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Mr Hazzard said more than half of the hospital redevelopments or upgrades are in regional NSW, where many of the new staff will be deployed.

“Good patient care relies not only on first-class facilities but skilled people to deliver it, which is why we are building on our commitment to look after those who look after us,” Mr Hazzard said.

Achievements of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government in health include:

  • Timely treatment: The best on-time elective surgery in Australia with 97.4 per cent of patients in 2017-18 receiving their elective surgery within clinically recommended timeframes, compared to 88.4 per cent in 2009-10 under Labor;
  • Less time in emergency: The percentage of patients leaving the emergency department within four hours has improved from 62.2 per cent in 2009-10 under Labor to 73.0 per cent in 2017-18 under the Liberals & Nationals Government; and
  • Fewer overdue for surgery: Across all surgical categories, almost 1200 patients waited longer than the recommended benchmark in June 2010 under Labor, this dropped to just 257 in June 2018 under the Liberals & Nationals.