October 21, 2019 South Australian nurses and midwives have overwhelmingly decided to take union action as early as next week if Marshall`s government fails to reach agreement on several important measures that undermine their ability to provide safe and effective services to South Australians. The decision follows months of negotiations on enterprise agreements, during which the government rejected almost all patient safety measures sought by nurses and midwives in the public service. ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary to WO Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM says the decision to take action is a decision that nurses and midwives do not take lightly. “Providing the best possible care to the community is at the heart of what it means to be a nurse or midwife. Nurses and midwives would prefer to have them meet their demand for a safe and quality supply for South Australia,” says Dabars. The sad reality is that nurses and midwives feel they have little choice but to take union action to get the state government to surrender and take into account the seriously compromised safety consequences of patients,” she says. The rejected measures can be divided into three areas that allow nurses and midwives to continue to meet the care needs of South Australia: “Ultimately, this is a reasonable agreement for all parties. While Dabars says the decision to take action and what form it will take is solely up to nurses and midwives in the public sector, the ANMF (SA Branch) is 100% responsible. We must ensure that our public health services are secure, adequately equipped and provide working conditions, attract and retain people in the professions of care and midwifery – and these are the critical areas that remain unresolved after months of negotiations. “Public service nurses and midwives are not prepared not to get bogged down in an agreement that expires last month.” She says union action will begin from next week if Marshall`s government does not agree to verify its opposition to patient safety measures sought by nurses and midwives. “Any union action taken by NURSES and midwives of SA obviously has no impact on patient safety – ensuring that the Community can continue to have access to safe and quality care is the main reason why our members have decided to take this step.” “This agreement is the culmination of several months of robust negotiations, and will ensure that SA is well positioned to meet the persistent health and wellness needs of all South Australians.” The government will now go to the SA labour tribunal to formalize the agreement.