Nurses and midwives angered by pay rise wait.

Published: 05 October 2022
 Queensland nurses and midwives could leave their jobs if state government pay delays continue, worsening already dire staff shortages state-wide.

Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle said members were dismayed and angry with the State Government’s failure to progress the hard-won proposed pay increase for Queensland Health (QH) nurses and midwives.  

Ms Mohle said the QNMU reached agreement with Queensland Health for the pay rise to go out for consultation and a ballot of nurses and midwives eight weeks ago on August 9 - yet the state government still hadn’t signed off on the agreement’s progression. 

She said the failure to act swiftly to advance enhancements to pay and conditions was an affront to tens of thousands of frontline QH nurses and midwives - and could adversely impact Queensland patients.

“Queensland Health nurses and midwives have been steadfast in their support of our community during the incredible hardship of the pandemic,” Ms Mohle said.

“These invaluable staff continue to give their all to help Queenslanders in the face of the ongoing pandemic and chronic understaffing resulting from the increased pressures on the health system. 

“Nurses and midwives are facing their own cost of living pressures that an overdue pay increase would greatly alleviate. The state government must urgently lift their game and make this pay rise a reality.”

Frontline staff throughout Queensland and Australia are emotionally and physically exhausted after years of pandemic response, increased demand and understaffing. It’s feared further pay delays could force valuable frontline staff to leave the professions they love.

The McKinsey 2021 Future of Work in Nursing Survey, released September 23, found one-fifth of Australia’s Registered Nurses (RN) reported they intended to leave their jobs within the next 12 months. A recent QNMU survey found dangerous workloads (78.42%), moral distress or fatigue (76.13%) and insufficient income (63.06%) as the top barriers to remaining in nursing and midwifery. The survey also identified solutions to keeping nurses and midwives in the workforce longer were minimum staff ratios and skills mix (78.01%), wage increases (72.50%) and safe working conditions (56.21%).

“Queensland’s already stressed public health system will continue to bleed good nurses and midwives if the state government fails to swiftly implement this pay rise,” Ms Mohle said.

QNMU member Jo Konings said QH nurses and midwives were exhausted and wanted the pay they were promised.

“We’ve been patient, tolerant and supportive of the health care system through some incredibly hard times,” Ms Konings said.

“It’s time the state government valued us and paid nurses and midwives what we’re worth. Anything else is an insult.”

The state government’s proposed three-year QH agreement includes wage increases of 4%, 4% and 3% for the first, second and third years respectively with amounts to be topped up to the cost of living if inflation is higher than the wage increase at end of March each year during the agreement.

Contact: Lou Robson 0422 550 278.