Hundreds of nurses join NSW public health system

·2-min read
Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Hundreds of extra nurses and midwives are set to join the NSW public health system as the Minns government works towards a goal of hiring more than 1000 new graduates.

The 520 frontline staff will begin working in western Sydney later this year, the government said, beating a previous record intake of 383 graduates.

The 500 nurses and 20 midwives will be deployed at hospitals in Auburn, Mount Druitt and Westmead and at drug, mental health and integrated health services.

"This next generation of nurses and midwives in ... are already making a positive impact on the lives of the patients, visitors and the communities they serve," Premier Chris Minns said on Friday.

"Each of these nurses and midwives plays an important role in helping the NSW public health system continue to deliver the care that patients expect when visiting our hospitals and health services across the state."

Before the NSW election, Labor committed to recruiting an additional 1200 new nurses after months of strikes and complaints of burnout and staff being overworked.

"We have to recruit nurses to meet our election promises in relation to safe staffing levels for NSW public hospitals," the premier said.

Some $97 million will also be spent on study subsidies for people choosing a career in health, as NSW looks to compete for workers against other states and territories.

"We're in a competition against Victoria and Queensland and other states, that want to steal our best and brightest. We want to keep them right here in NSW," he said.

"We know that it's a vocation, and we want to make sure that we're offering every incentive possible for people to take up this important job."

The $12,000 subsidies, spread across three years, will be available for 2000 students.

The government is also working towards hospital reform, as an advisory panel of health leaders determines what will become "safe staffing levels" for different wards around the state.

All emergency departments must be staffed with one nurse for every three patients after a decision on safe staffing levels last month.

"The commitment, compassion and skills of our nurses and midwives contribute greatly to the health and wellbeing of local communities right across NSW," Health Minister Ryan Park said.

"It is up to this government to ensure that our nurses, midwives and health care workers feel supported and ensure they enjoy lifelong careers in our health and hospital system."

The announcements of reinforcements for the sector coincides with International Nurses Day, which is celebrated each year on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Last Friday, marked International Day of the Midwife.

The two days are commemorated worldwide as a way to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of nurses and midwives.

Home to Australia's largest health system, NSW employs more than 53,000 nurses and midwives in total.