Perrottet calls for national health reform

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is calling on the states and the federal government to "fix" Australia's health system through major reforms, as it reels from the pressure of the pandemic.

His demand for reform comes a day after hundreds of nurses and midwives protested outside state parliament, fed up with being overworked in understaffed hospitals.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association says despite evidence of ratios improving patient outcomes in other states, the government has held out in discussions so far.

Association general secretary Shaye Candish says staff are "incredibly burnt out" and at risk of abandoning the NSW system.

Mr Perrottet avoided directly addressing their concerns on Thursday, noting that "when it comes to staffing arrangements, in every industry it's a national challenge that we're all facing".

He said the state's $33 billion budget, the biggest in the country, will bring on board 10,000 new health staff, including nurses.

However, Mr Perrottet took the opportunity to call on the federal government and the other states to make it a policy priority.

"There needs to be national reform of the health system," he told reporters.

"We need to have a system where the federal primary care network runs alongside and supports the state health system across the country.

"We are doing reforms within our own state health system to alleviate the pressures on our public health system.

"But more needs to be done, and that can be done with state premiers through the national cabinet working with the Commonwealth government."

He said the lack of GPs was pushing people into emergency departments, which he said he was solving with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews by opening up 25 urgent-care clinics with extended hours in each state.

Mr Perrottet also pointed to how pharmacists in a 12-month trial will be authorised to administer a wider range of vaccinations and medications.

"The public around the nation ... want to see collaboration and co-operation between state governments and the federal government to really reform the health system and fix it," he said.