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SA Nurses threaten to halt Transforming Health

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UPDATED: Nurses in every major public hospital across South Australia will take industrial action later this month, threatening to stop the progress of the Government’s Transforming Health hospital reforms if their demands are not met.

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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says nurses and midwives across the state have voted to begin industrial action – donning campaign t-shirts, refusing to answer phones and complete non-essential paperwork – from Monday 26 September.

From 3 October the industrial action will ramp up to include stopping all non-nursing duties, including cleaning beds, refusing to input data important for revenue collection and only using government cars to travel from site to site.

The following week, nurses and midwives plan to refuse to work overtime, hold rallies on work sites and change the way they administer patients, forcing hospitals to put on more staff.

If, by October 17 the Government has still failed to present nurses with a new enterprise agreement to vote on, nurses and midwives will “cease all Transforming Health related initiatives”.

ANMF South Australia CEO Elizabeth Dabars told InDaily a new enterprise agreement had been negotiated and committed to in-principle by both the union and the State Government earlier this year, but that after months of delay the Government had not come back with a finalised proposal for members to vote on.

The enterprise agreement for nurses and midwives in the public sector expired in July.

“We only hope they [the Government] end this early, by providing us with a formal response,” said Dabars.

Dabars said the actions were designed to have the most effect on the Government and the least effect on patient care.

She said the ANMF also wanted to end an element of the old enterprise agreement which meant aged care patients in buildings adjacent to country hospitals were entitled to fewer hours of care than those inside the main hospital buildings.

“We’ve been objecting to this for years,” she said.

She said the government had had enough time to rectify the discrepancy.

Nurses have agreed to participate in the industrial action at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, the Repatriation General Hospital, Noarlunga Health Services, Modbury Hospital, the Lyell McEwin Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hampstead Centre, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, James Nash House and Glenside Hospital, as well as at 10 country sites across the state.

More to come.

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