Nurses and midwives ask politicians to put health first this Labour Day 

Published: 2 May 2022 

Queensland nurses and midwives are today calling on all political parties and voters to put health and aged care first at the upcoming federal election.
Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle said Australia’s health and aged care systems are in crisis – but positive change is possible.
Ms Mohle said Queenslanders were struggling to afford and access basic health care such as GP visits. She said private aged care facilities, the responsibility of the federal government, remained dangerously understaffed.   
In addition, Ms Mohle said public hospitals and health services were overloaded and under resourced due to population growth, increased presentations and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
“This Labour Day, we call on all political parties and voters to put health and aged care first,’’ Ms Mohle said.
“We urge voters to look at what the various parties are offering in terms of access to quality health care, aged care and positive change during these challenging times.
“Queenslanders deserve free access to quality care via both public hospitals and bulk billed GP visits. Elderly Australians deserve safe and quality care in private aged care facilities nation-wide.
“We ask all Queenslanders to consider these basic human rights when voting this federal election.’’

The QNMU is calling on all political parties to:

  • Guarantee real change for aged care via: Legislated ratios with mandated minimum care minutes and the right skills mix including 44 minutes with a Registered Nurse (RN), the introduction of an RN 24/7 with at least one RN on site at all private aged care facilities at all times, ensure greater transparency by ensuring federal government funding is tied to care, improve wages and conditions by supporting and funding our claim for a 25% increase to aged care award wages. 
  • Reduce pressure on Emergency Departments and hospitals by: Introducing nurse-led walk-in centres or Medicare nurse led clinics state-wide to provide Queenslanders with a new model of primary care and reduce increasing unprecedented demands on hospitals and other initiatives. 
  • Expand Medicare by: Increasing Medicare reimbursement for some nursing and midwifery services currently only available to some regional, rural and remote health areas and other initiatives. 
  • Fix job security by: Committing to concrete policy changes that deliver more permanent jobs and fair and reasonable wages and conditions, particularly for women. 
  • Build a healthier, fairer and more equal society by: Implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart  to address systemic racism and discrimination in our health care system by giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a legitimate voice in our Federal Parliament, take real action on climate change by implementing future-ready policies, legislation and practices that genuinely and pro-actively address the climate crisis, fix the housing affordability crisis to ensure nurses and midwives and their families can purchase a home or find affordable rent close to work and family.
The QNMU supports the Australian Labor Party’s plan to fix aged care as well as Labor’s announcement of 50 Urgent Care Clinics to reduce pressure on Queensland Emergency departments and public hospitals. 
A full list of QNMU asks is available here.

Media contact: 0422 550 278