Labor pledges extra nurses, but ignores other health staff

Monday 25 Feb 2013

HSUWA has welcomed the Labor party's pledge to spend $45 million to reduce Western Australia's hospital waiting lists and employ an extra 200 nurses.

However, the Union, which represents specialist health professionals, said both parties were concentrating on nurses and doctors at the expense of other essential hospital staff.

"HSUWA absolutely agrees there needs to be more nurses in the hospital system," said the Union's secretary Dan Hill.

"However, if the Labor party is to honour its pledge to fund an additional 8,300 elective surgeries over the next three years, nurses aren't the only staff that will need to be employed."

Mr Hill said extra funding would also be needed to cover the additional theatre services required, including Anaesthetic Technicians.

He said there were also already long waiting lists for rehabilitation services required post-surgery such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Pathology.

"Initiatives to reduce elective surgery waiting lists must take a holistic health approach if they are to be successful," he said.

"There's no point in employing extra nurses if there's no one to anaesthetise patients before surgery or help them recover after their operations."

HSUWA represents more than 15,000 people employed in WA hospitals and health services, including for example administrators, clerks, technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, medical imaging technologists, psychologists, social workers, medical scientists, occupational therapists, dieticians, maintenance officers, podiatrists, mental health workers, and speech pathologists. All play a vital role in our health system.

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