ANMF hit back at the Budget on International Nurses Day

Monday, 15 May, 2017

ANMF hit back at the Budget on International Nurses Day

Friday, 12 May was International Nurses Day (IND) — an event first declared on 12 May 1974 by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) to celebrate the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

According to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), IND is a chance for the whole community to acknowledge and applaud the crucial contribution nurses make to the Australian health system each and every day. But ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas said this year’s event also had another purpose — to speak out against the negative impacts of the Budget on nurses.

“IND is a great opportunity for everyone to take a minute and reflect on the amazing work nurses do every day — we should be acknowledging, and indeed applauding, their contribution to Australia’s health and aged care systems,” Thomas said.

“However, we also need to use IND to voice our concerns about the Budget and how it’s going to impact our members, particularly nursing and midwifery students and nurses working in the under-resourced aged-care sector. Like other members of the community, nurses will continue to pay more in out-of-pocket costs for specialist health services, given the government has refused to immediately lift the freeze on GP rebates.

“If the government was serious about alleviating the cost of health care, it would immediately put an end to the freeze, full stop. But even when it is eventually and completely lifted in 2020, it will be too little, too late — the damage would have already been done.

“The Budget again has shown no care for aged care. Australia faces a shortage of 20,000 aged-care nurses, but there’s been no reversal of the crippling $1.2 billion in funding cuts, nor has there been any regulations for safe staffing ratios for aged-care nurses.

“The Budget will also force students dreaming of becoming nurses and midwives to pay thousands of extra dollars for their degrees and have to start repaying their HECS debt much sooner, after the income threshold was cut to $42,000.

“On International Nurses Day, we are disappointed the government can deliver up to $50 billion in corporate tax cuts to big businesses, but can hurt hardworking aged-care nurses and Australia’s next generation of nurses.”

Image credit: © Kneschke

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