The NSW Government has announced it will spend more than half a billion dollars to give 1112 temporary nurses and midwives across the state permanent jobs in next week's state budget.
This includes 61 positions in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
Premier Chris Minns and Health Minister Ryan Park announced they would invest an additional $572 million in the 2023-24 budget, to be unveiled on September 19, to make these jobs permanent.
The money will be spent over three financial years from 2024-25, when Coalition funding for the jobs was due to run out.
In April, the new Labor government announced that it had found 1112 nurse positions which had been left unfunded by the previous government beyond the 2024-25 financial year.
Mr Park has spoken out several times in parliament about his anger over this decision - which he said he found out about within days of taking on the health minister job - as he said the former government has not made it clear that these workers were temporary amid its promises to recruit 10,000 extra health workers.
"In those first 72 hours, I was informed that there was 1100 nurses that the previous government had baked in that were going to expire in 12 months," he told the Mercury last week.
"I'm in discussions with the treasurer literally as we speak about trying to see what we can do about that because that's a huge challenge."
In parliament last month, Liberal health spokesman Minister Matt Kean said the Liberals considered the 1112 positions to be "COVID recovery nurses".
Mr Park said said the confirmation that the government would fund these nursing jobs into the future would help deliver Labor's promise to put in better staff to patient ratios in hospitals across NSW.
"I am as committed to investing in our frontline healthcare workers as I am about bricks and mortar infrastructure," he said.
"The implementation of safe staffing levels will mean more nurses and midwives working in our hospitals and is a significant step forward in delivering on the Government's commitment to help rebuild essential services."
Hunter New England had the most temporary positions, with 138.2, followed by the five Sydney-based local health districts and then the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Mr Minns and Mr Park also said they were committed to hiring an additional 1200 nurses and midwives during its first term, beyond the 1112 permanent jobs, to implement this staffing reforms.
"Today, we are making good on our commitment to support our essential frontline health workers so they can continue to deliver the health services our communities need and deserve," Mr Minns said.
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