KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth was cheered on by the gallery as he spoke in support of the Hospital and Health Boards (Safe Nurse-to-Patient and Midwife-to-Patient Ratios) in parliament this week.
Mr Knuth drew on personal stories when delivering a speech in support of the bill, which set minimum number of nurses to the number of patients they care for.
“Establishing and maintaining a safe workload has been a long-term priority for nurses and midwives,” Mr Knuth said.
“Politicians are rated 49th out of 50 on the list of trusted professions, but nurses are number one; we need to look after them,” he said.
Speaking proudly about both his mother and daughter Mr Knuth highlighted just how important this bill is for nurses in Queensland.
“I grew up with a mighty woman—a nurse—my mum. My mum has said that being a nurse is about finding the need within a community and trying to fix it,” Mr Knuth said.
“There were never enough staff to meet the needs of patients. My mother worked in wards of up to 50 patients with a ratio of up to eight patients to one nurse. She said supplies were thin and there was never enough staff to tend the needs of every patient.”.
“Under this legislation nurses will have a more manageable, safer workload with ratios of four patients to one nurse during the day and seven patients to one nurse during the night.”
Mr Knuth’s daughter also carried on the family tradition first as an enrolled nurse at the Charters Towers Eventide aged-care facility and at the Townsville general hospital.
“Nurses and midwives play a crucial role in delivering safe, high-quality care. In contributing to the debate tonight hopefully we can provide a safer environment for those in need and for nurses like my daughter,” he said.
“The Queensland Nurses’ Union have been lobbying for a safer ratio for our nurses and midwives, and tonight I stand with them.
“I admire their dedication, their determination, their passion and their will to see a better nurse-to-patient ratio,” he said.
The bill will also see an additional 250 nurses employed across Queensland.