NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is calling on states and the federal government to ‘fix’ Australia’s healthcare system through major reforms as it comes under pressure from the pandemic.
His demand for reform comes a day after hundreds of nurses and midwives protested outside state parliament, tired of being overworked in understaffed hospitals.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association says that despite evidence of ratios improving patient outcomes in other states, the government has so far held the talks.
Association general secretary Shaye Candish said staff were “incredibly exhausted” and at risk of dropping out of the NSW system.
Mr Perrottet avoided addressing their concerns directly on Thursday, noting that “when it comes to personnel arrangements, in every industry, it’s a national challenge that we all face.”
He said the state’s $33 billion budget, the largest in the country, will hire 10,000 new health care workers, including nurses.
However, Mr. Perrottet took the opportunity to call on the federal government and the other states to make it a political priority.
“There must be a national reform of the health system,” he told reporters.
“We need a system where the federal primary care network accompanies and supports the state health system across the country.
“We are making reforms within our own public health care system to ease pressures on our public health care system.
“But more needs to be done, and that can be done with state premiers through the national cabinet working with the Commonwealth government.”
He said a lack of GPs was pushing people into the emergency services, which he said he was addressing with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews by opening 25 urgent care clinics with extended hours in each state.
Mr Perrottet also highlighted how pharmacists in a 12-month trial will be allowed to administer a wider range of vaccines and drugs.
“The public across the country … wants to see collaboration and cooperation between state governments and the federal government to really reform the health care system and fix it,” he said.
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