Nurse numbers down, wait times up under Labor

Queenslanders will be forced to cope with fewer nurses in hospitals and longer wait times for surgery under a Labor Government with no plan for the state’s health system.

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle has slammed the Palaszczuk Government for failing patients, after it was revealed that it was cutting the number of graduate nurses employed by Queensland Health.

“Yesterday’s speech by the Governor, opening the 55th Parliament confirmed that Labor would not be putting on as many nursing graduates as the LNP,” Mr McArdle said.

“On top of this, Labor is cutting nurse recruitment in half to just 400 extra nurses over four years. That’s significantly less than the LNP’s commitment to deliver 1706 nurses to hospitals across Queensland.

“It comes as no surprise that the Palaszczuk Government is taking the health system back down a path to destruction but it is extremely disappointing they are incapable of learning from previous mistakes.”

Mr McArdle said that the only thing Labor’s ‘Nursing Guarantee’ policy guaranteed was less money and fewer jobs for nurses and midwives.

“Labor’s proposed salary for additional nurses is going to short change them by almost $130 every week and includes no provision for shift-work or remote living,” he said.

“The LNP had promised and budgeted for the average nurse pay to be more than $75,000 from 1 April, not including penalties.

“Four years after Labor’s Health payroll fiasco, when nurses were underpaid or not paid at all, Labor policies still underpay nurses.”

Mr McArdle said that Labor had callously axed the Wait Time Guarantee, despite the Australian-first program delivering real results.

“Former Health Minister Lawrence Springborg took Queensland’s health system from being the worst in Australia to the best in Australia– that is a fact,” he said.

“Now Cameron Dick is doing all he can to erode this success, ignoring the advice of doctors and the pleas from patients and scrapping the Wait Time Guarantee.”

Mr McArdle said Queensland nurses and midwives had already fallen victim to Labor’s bungles and maladministration in the past.

“The health payroll debacle, the fake Tahitian Prince and a Department that Premier Anna Bligh said could not be fixed are just some examples of Labor’s record in health,” he said.

“This Labor Government needs to wake up and realise that an investment in our workforce is investment in caring for the sick.”

Fast Facts

  • Labor’s ‘Nursing Guarantee’ policy cuts growth in nursing numbers and cuts nurses’ pay.
  • The LNP increased nurse pay by more than 12%. From April 1, average nurse pay (at level 5.5) is $75,379 (penalties not included).
  • Labor’s proposed salary for additional nurses is just $68,750 and includes no provision for shift-work or remote living.
  • To deliver 400 extra nurses, the Labor’s policy short-changes each additional nurse by more than $6000.
  • Labor’s plan for 1000 graduate positions is less than the LNP’s 1020 at end on 2014
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