THE safe staffing of Queensland’s public hospitals has emerged as a top issue ahead of the upcoming state election.
An independent poll, conducted by Essential Research, found 82 per cent of those polled wanted continued investment in the state’s healthcare system.
The poll, conducted on behalf of the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU), found more than half the 1000-plus Queenslanders polled said the announcement of new healthcare jobs would likely sway their vote on October 31.
QNMU Secretary Beth Mohle said the poll confirmed Queenslanders wanted continued investment in the state’s public hospitals and health services – and those who staff them.
“COVID-19 has turned Queenslanders’ focus directly on the public health system, nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers that have kept them safe throughout the pandemic,’’ Ms Mohle said.
“The poll found 82 per cent of respondees overwhelmingly believed the Queensland government must continue to invest in improving health services during the pandemic.
“63 per cent of respondees said they wanted to see nurse to patient ratios introduced in Queensland’s Emergency Departments, while 54 per cent stated the party that announced new healthcare jobs would likely get their vote.’’
Ms Mohle said healthcare was a hot topic in Queensland. She said ratios, or laws that govern how many patients can safely be allocated to a single nurse, had prompted a strong response.
“In 2016 the Palaszczuk Government became just the fourth government in the world to make nurse to patient ratios law in our public hospitals,’’ Ms Mohle said.
“Since then ratios, which mandate how many patients can safely be allocated to a single nurse, have been rolled out in medical and surgical wards saving 145 lives and up to $81 million taxpayer dollars already.
“However around two thirds of Queenslanders supported the QNMU’s push to have more nurses put in place in Queensland’s Emergency Departments. That’s an incredibly strong response.’’
She said there were currently no nurse to patient ratios in the state’s Emergency Departments which were increasingly busy due to population growth and increased acute presentations. Ms Mohle said the state’s nurses and midwives were an invaluable workforce – throughout the pandemic and every day.
“Amidst the global pandemic, our nurses and midwives have demonstrated how valuable their work is,’’ Ms Mohle said.
“However, this work must be valued in real terms – with the investment in ongoing employment of more nurses and midwives to protect Queensland.
“Committing to the ongoing rollout of ratios in Emergency Departments and elsewhere, as well as providing job security for the state’s nurses, midwives and graduates, will keep Queenslanders safe and boost the economy.
“You don’t get better healthcare with less nurses and midwives.”
The poll found delivering health services, 50 per cent, rated second only to job creation with 55 per cent of respondees. Ms Mohle said investing in the state’s health system would achieve both.
The poll also found:
• Queenslanders favour Annastacia Palaszczuk to Deb Frecklington as preferred Premier, 49 to 31 per cent
• 45 per cent of respondees stated they were more likely to consider voting for Labor due to Ms Palaszczuk’s health management during the pandemic
• Around three times more people support the introduction of minimum nurse to patient ratios in Queensland’s emergency departments compared to those who oppose (63% to 19% respectively)
• More than half of those polled would consider voting for a party that announced new healthcare jobs (54%).
The poll was an online survey of 1018 Queensland residents aged over 18 between Wednesday October 7 and Friday October 9.