A guest post about the implications for the price of medications under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme of current Free Trade Agreement negotiations – by Michael Whaites, an organiser with the NSWNMA.
A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is currently being negotiated between Australia, USA and a number of Asia/Pacific countries (the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – TPPA). The negotiations are being held in secret and the desired outcome is that corporations will have greater access to Australian markets. One of the problems with this is that our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is seen as a barrier to Free Trade.
Without the PBS, costs for medications in Australia would fall into line with costs in the US and that’s three to 10 times the price we currently pay. This would mean less people being able to afford their medications and more people filling our public hospitals.
In an extraordinary appearance at the Royal College of Nursing Congress in Liverpool (England), 24 year old student nurse Molly Case, who is a performance poet, young adult novelist and blogger, spoke her beautiful and passionate poem ‘Nursing the Nation’, which she wrote in response to recent criticism of nurses in the NHS and their alleged ‘lack of care’.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of the poem but really the best way to hear it is to view Molly on the YouTube video below – which has already been viewed by over 206,000 people! Now the campaign is on to get a million people to view the poem before this Sunday’s International Nurses Day. So let’s share it around.
Who’d have thought we’d be having to defend?
We don’t do this for our families, we don’t do this for our friends,
but for strangers.
Because this is our vocation
and we’re sick and tired of hearing we don’t do enough for this nation.
So, listen to us, hear us goddamn roar, you say we’re not doing enough?
Then we promise we’ll do more.
This time, next time, there’s nothing we can’t handle,
even if you bring us down, show us scandal, scandal, scandal.
A Proud Past. A Fighting Future was the theme of yesterday’s May Day parade in Sydney and as the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association certainly has both a proud past and a fighting future (not to mention a current fight on our hands with the ratios campaign), it was fitting for it to win the ‘best’ parade entry award.
‘How did they ever work wearing those?’ was the question in many minds as nurses paraded through the city in historical uniforms, holding placards which celebrated our historical wins.
Here’s a selection of the best snaps from the day.
The NSWNMA branch at Kempsey District Hospital has sent a letter to their local MP.
For background information about this claim and campaign, look here.
Kempsey District Hospital ED staff
Over 775 FTE nurse positions have been lost in Queensland in the past year, plus 3540 positions in Queensland Health. Beth Mohle, secretary of the Queensland Nurses’ Union, spoke to Noel Hester of The Lamp in March about the dire situation of drastic health cuts and privatisations facing nurses and the community in her state.
Below, watch excerpts from the video interview with Beth and then read the article as it appears in May’s Lamp.