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ANF rejects PM’s new hospital based training plan

25 September, 2007

The ANF today rejected John Howard’s ill-conceived proposal to return to hospital based training for nurses when more than 30,000 registered nurses (AIHW 2006) around Australia refuse to work in the profession because of poor wages and working conditions.

ANF assistant federal secretary Ged (Gerardine) Kearney said the proposal reflected a “worn out government” that is out of touch with the real needs of the Australian health system. 

“It is old time thinking. Howard should ask himself and tell the community why we have over 10% of the nursing workforce (30,000 nurses) who remain registered as nurses but refuse to work in a system that has been run down and fails to provide decent wages and working conditions. An immediate solution to the nursing shortage in this country would be to attract even half of those nurses back into the system by providing decent jobs, wages and working conditions.”

Kearney said nursing training moved to the tertiary sector over 20 years ago because of careful consideration of the educational needs of the nursing profession and was supported by government, industry and nurses.

“Nurses are responsible on a daily basis for caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our community who are often critically ill and this requires nurses who can deliver the highest quality of care. Research shows university training of nurses has increased the quality of patient care.”

The ANF has launched a series of advertisements to highlight the appalling working conditions in aged care which have occurred as a direct result of the Howard government’s industrial relations policies.

“These ads highlight the lack of decent jobs in the field of nursing which cares for older Australian’s. John Howard should turn his mind to resolving the serious problems affecting the aged care industry. WorkChoices will drive even more nurses from the profession. Improving nurses’ wages and conditions and increasing the number of undergraduate nursing places is what the health system really needs, Kearney said.

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