South Australian nurses win against bed cuts – for now

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South Australian nurses were on the verge of industrial action but instead had a win in court.

A legal battle last Friday in the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission between the SA Government and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA) resulted in a huge win for nurses that will mean ward S7 in the Royal Adelaide Hospital – which caters for at least 20 patients – will reopen from today.

Health Minister Jack Snelling backed down following pressure from angry nurses, who had planned industrial action, including refusing to admit patients unless they had a designated hospital ward. The ANMF SA branch was planning to limit numbers in emergency departments on Saturday. This followed the Government announcement that they would close 55 beds at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth hospitals.

Plans for the remaining 35 beds remain unclear. Nurses remain at odds with the Government over plans to shift about 20 beds from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the Lyell McEwin Hospital. ANMF chief executive officer adjunct Professor Elizabeth Dabars (right) said she was pleased with the result and was looking forward to further discussions with the government.

She said the union would keep fighting the bed closures unless they saw solid evidence that the beds were not needed.

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