The Minns Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to support essential health workers and their patients by saving the jobs of 1,112 nurses and midwives in NSW hospitals, who would have been sacked under the Liberals and Nationals.
The Government is investing an additional $572 million in the 2023-24 NSW Budget to make the 1,112 nurses and midwives permanent.
The $572 million will be spent over three financial years from 2024-25 – averting the Coalition’s budget cliff at the end of the current financial year.
We know the health system in NSW has been left overwhelmed and underfunded after 12 years of neglect by the Liberals and Nationals – and NSW cannot afford to lose 1,112 nurses and midwives.
The Labor Government’s decision delivers certainty to nurses, midwives, and their families, along with local hospitals and patients.
The commitment will also ensure the continued delivery of healthcare services and support health outcomes for patients.
These hardworking nurses and midwives are already embedded in the public health system, working in metro and regional hospitals across NSW, but the former Liberal Government planned to sack these essential frontline workers when funding for their positions expired on July 1, 2024.
In addition to record debt and deficits, the Liberals left more than $7 billion in government services unfunded, including ending funding for these nurses and midwives.
Incoming briefings provided to the Minns Labor Government revealed that the previous Liberal Government did not fund these 1,112 positions beyond 30 June 2024.
Former Treasurer and Shadow Health Minister Matt Kean last month confirmed the Liberals considered the positions to only be ‘COVID recovery nurses’ and had no intention of retaining the staff – at a time the NSW health system is under immense pressure.
More than 750,000 patients presented to emergency departments across NSW in the second quarter of 2023, with a record number (117,949) of life-threatening triage category 2 cases.
But data from the Bureau of Health Information reveals just over half (54 per cent) of those triage category 2 patients started their treatment on time.
The nurses and midwives who would have been sacked work across 15 local health districts (LHDs) along with the Childrens Hospital Network.
This massive funding black hole included no funding allocated for:
- 138.2 nurses in the Hunter New England LHD
- 119.2 nurses in South Western Sydney LHD
- 109.1 nurses in Western Sydney LHD
- 104.4 nurses in South Eastern Sydney LHD
- 99.4 nurses in Sydney LHD
- 82 nurses in Northen Sydney LHD
- 61.4 nurses in Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD
- 57.1 nurses in Central Coast LHD
- 56.1 nurses in Western NSW LHD
- 51 nurses in Northern NSW LHD
- 50 nurses in Nepean Blue Mountains LHD
- 43.3 nurses in Mid North Coast LHD
- 41.6 nurses in Murrumbidgee LHD
- 41 nurses in Childrens Hospital Network
- 26.6 nurses in Southern NSW LHD
- 6.5 nurses in Far West LHD
Permanently funding these positions will help the Minns Labor Government implement its commitment to Safe Staffing Levels in NSW hospitals, starting with emergency departments.
Safe Staffing Levels are designed to improve health outcomes, reduce waiting times, take pressure off NSW hospitals and help retain experienced nurses and midwives in our health workforce.
The Minns Labor Government has also committed to hiring an additional 1,200 nurses and midwives during its first term, beyond today’s announcement, to implement this important reform in our hospitals.
The NSW Government can make this necessary investment in the care that people rely on because of its sensible budget decision making, beginning the repair task after the Liberals’ financial mismanagement.
The NSW Labor Government is making better choices, ending the budget mismanagement and wrong priorities to invest in the essentials, like healthcare workers and patient outcomes.
Quotes attributable to the Premier of New South Wales, Chris Minns:
“We are doing what the previous state government failed to do – making these nurses and midwives permanent.
“The NSW health system is under immense pressure. We can’t afford to lose hardworking nurses and midwives.
“Today, we are making good on our commitment to support our essential frontline health workers so they can continue to deliver the health services our communities need and deserve.”
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Health and Regional Health, Ryan Park:
“I am as committed to investing in our frontline healthcare workers as I am about bricks and mortar infrastructure.
“The Minns Labor Government made a commitment to support our frontline nurses and midwives and recognise their enormous contribution to our health system by building the workforce and improving their pay and conditions.
“The implementation of Safe Staffing Levels will mean more nurses and midwives working in our hospitals and is a significant step forward in delivering on the Government’s commitment to help rebuild essential services.”
Premier of New South Wales
Minister for Health
Minister for Regional Health
Minister for the Illawarra and South Coast