South Australian nurses are expected to forge ahead with industrial action next week over hospital overcrowding.
The Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) confirmed its intentions in a media release shortly after crisis talks with the state government last night.
The union said Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade refused to commit to a request during an urgent Employment Tribunal hearing held in Adelaide overnight.
The union was requesting the provision of additional resources to temporarily ease an ongoing bed shortage.
“We’re absolutely disgusted with this particular meeting,” ANMF spokeswoman Elizabeth Dabars said.
The union is now expected to proceed with planned action that will see rolling rallies held from Monday, with overnight elective surgery set to be cancelled from Thursday.
“We will not rest until patient safety can be assured and nurses are going to step up and do that in the absence of the minister doing it,” Ms Dabars said.
Doctors and paramedics are just as outraged, saying not enough is being done to fix what they say is dangerous overcrowding.
“We’re still not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that we all want to see for patients and for clinicians,” Salaried Medical Officers Association spokeswoman Bernadette Mulholland said.
“Patients are doing it tough, our members are doing it tough we haven’t got anything to tell them to give them heart at the moment,” Ambulance Employees Association representative Phil Palmer added.
But the health minister argues the government has acted, with 30 beds in country hospitals now being utilised along with 20 in the private sector.
“We will not stand by and see patient safety threatened by industrial action,” Mr Wade said yesterday.
“We’re calling on the nurses union to withdraw this industrial action and work with the government to deal with the pressure in our hospitals.”
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