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Health department digs in over changing to fixed nurse-to-patient ratios

The Department of Health is defending its decision not to follow Queensland and Victoria into “fixed” patient to nurse ratios. 

Phil Minns, Deputy Secretary of People Culture and Governance at the Department of Health, joins Chris Smith to discuss the controversial stance.

“The model we use in NSW, we like to maximize the local judgement of nurse unit managers, to determine how we make sure we’ve got safe crewing of all of our wards.”

Mr Minns has labeled ratios “somewhat blunt, they apply the same standard to every ward in the state”.

Instead, Minns is supporting his government’s more flexible approach.

“That’s what our current, non mandated system produces… you make those local judgments to reflect the kind of patient mix you have.”

On claims NSW are losing nurses to Victoria, Mr Minns says they aren’t aware of this phenomena.

“We have grown the number of nurses in the NSW system by 6,700 [since 2011].”

Nurse Rochelle joins the chat and tells Chis, “I left the industry because of the pressures and the amount of issues that were coming onto the nurses… so I left the public system and went private.”

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