22 February 2024

​The NSW Government is delivering on its promise to rollout a major staffing reform set to boost the number of frontline healthcare workers in NSW public hospitals. 

The safe staffing levels rollout will see more nurses and midwives in NSW public hospitals between now and July 2027. 

The new minimum staffing requirements will be rolled out in stages, starting at hospitals with emergency departments (EDs), who treat the most critically ill patients, and will be progressively implemented across other hospital departments. 

The move follows extensive discussions at the Safe Staffing Levels Taskforce, responsible for the implementation of the Government’s commitment. 

The Taskforce includes key leaders from the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association and New South Wales Health. 

The safe staffing reforms will be first implemented at Liverpool Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital EDs. The Safe Staffing Taskforce will review this initial rollout and use it to inform the roll out to future sites, which it will continue to oversee.

Phase one of the roll out will see a one-to-one nursing care ratio for generally occupied ED resuscitation beds on all shifts, and one nurse to three generally occupied ED treatment spaces and ED short-stay units.

The NSW Government’s hospital safe staffing levels reforms forms part of a broader range of measures designed to build an engaged, capable and supported workforce, including: 

  • Saving 1,112 temporary nurses by making them permanent; 
  • Abolishing the wages cap and delivering record pay increases for nurses, paramedics and other health workers, as well as salary packaging; 
  • Beginning to roll out 500 additional paramedics in regional, rural and remote communities; and 
  • Doubling the health worker study subsidies. 

These reforms will improve conditions and staff experience and, in turn, boost retention, capacity and capability. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park: 

“This Government continues to deliver on its commitment to ensuring our hospitals have the frontline healthcare workers they need to continue to deliver safe, high-quality care to patients. This reform will mean more nurses providing frontline care to the people of NSW.

“We listened to the nurses, midwives, patients and other stakeholders who have told us of the need for these changes and have acted to ensure we have a health system that delivers the best care possible for all of NSW, now and into the future.

“This important reform will deliver improved experiences and outcomes of care for patients while backing essential frontline workers in all corners of the state.

“It will help retain our existing staff while also helping attract our future workforce. 

“When we boost and support our health workforce, we will see improved health outcomes. It’s as simple as that.

“I want to thank the Safe Staffing Taskforce for their work to bring this Government’s commitment to fruition.” ​