THE Queensland Nurses Union is pushing for the State Government to pass the laws detailing minimum nurse-to-patient ratios by the start of June.
It would make the state only the fourth jurisdiction in the world to have legislation in that area of patient care, according Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle.
She described the lack of current legislation as being a “huge risk” to patient safety.
“It’s a risk because we will lose nurses and midwives from our health system if we don’t address this,” Ms Mohle said.
“But it’s also a huge risk to patient safety if we’re not addressing the fact that we need a floor so that patients are guaranteed that no matter where they’re cared for they will receive the quality of nursing and midwifery that they deserve.”
The union are pushing to have a minimum of one nurse to every four patients on early and late shifts, with the workload increasing to one in seven for night shifts.
Ms Mohle, speaking after addressing a committee looking into the legislation, said she had support from the Palaszczuk Government and cross bench MPs.
“It will still have to be debated in the floor of the Parliament but we’re confident we still have the support from the cross benchers in this very important endeavour,” Ms Mohle said.
A report into the proposed laws is expected to be handed to Parliament by the end of next month.
“We’re hopeful it will be able to be debated in May because it’s a July 1 stage implementation date, so it’s very important to have the legislation considered and passed through Parliament by July 1,” Ms Mohle said.
She said California, Wales and Victoria had already passed similar legislation.
Addressing a crowd of nurses and midwives outside Parliament today, Health Minster Cameron Dick vowed to “fight hard” to get the legislation through.
“I’m confident that the evidence is there to support you — that is makes a difference,” Mr Dick said.
“And I’m confident that we’re going to be able to persuade the Parliament and that you will be supported.”