“If we want safe staffing levels in NSW, we have one shot”


Nurse Liz McCall is urging you to make sure we win nurse-to-patient ratios at this year’s NSW election.

The professional is political, like it or not.

I feel compelled to write after following and contributing to NSWNMA activist discussions online for the past few months. We’re down to the wire now. And no, I don’t believe I am a dramatist or a conspiracy theorist – merely a pragmatic realist.

If we want safe staffing levels in NSW health care we have one shot; the NSW State election on 23 March 2019. It’s time to understand that your vote as an NSWNMA member really will count. I have been a union activist for over 40 years and have also been a part of the many wins the NSWNMA has secured for nurses and midwives in NSW. This has meant being politically astute.

Nurses and midwives across NSW use the best available evidence every day to inform their practice and advocate for communities in their care. This is no different. The evidence is clear. This by far is the best advocacy you will ever provide.

Now, more than ever, we all stand on a precipice. You can either have the courage to leap into the political arena and vote for the only party that has guaranteed at least part of what we need to achieve the staffing levels we need to keep our patients safe AND has a chance of winning, and therefore being able to legislate for Ratios.

Or … you can step back, thinking that you’ll stick with the political party you’ve always supported even though it does not support the NSWNMA Ratios campaign. If you do that, you are politically naive. Every vote will count and every member needs to step up and become an activist for the change our communities so desperately need.

Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage. The choice is yours.

This article was originally published as a Letter to the Editor in the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association publication, Lamp.


  1. Articulate, informed and passionate, as always,Liz McCall. Thank you for your advocacy for our patients and our colleagues. We only have one choice on Saturday, Labor is the only party capable of delivering staffing Ratios in NSW. The support for our cause from minor parties is appreciated, however, they will not be in a position to deliver Ratios should the LNP prevail. Nurses and Midwives have a clear choice, please use your vote wisely, we will not be presented with this opportunity again.


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