Sides refusing to budge in nursing dispute

ABC News, March 5, 2012 The industrial battle between Victoria's nurses and the State Government shows little sign of easing. The dispute is bogged down over the issue of nurse-to-patient ratios. Nurses want one nurse for every four patients, but the Government says some flexibility is needed. Both Health Minister David Davis and Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) spokeswoman Lisa Fitzpatrick say they are willing to negotiate, but appear unwilling to budge from their current positions. "The first step the ANF needs to take is to step back from its industrial action, step back from its effectively strike action in targeted locations around the state," Mr Davis said. Ms Fitzpatrick says they are happy to sit down at the negotiating table but the hospital negotiators keep walking away. "The Government wouldn't agree to give that negotiator, Commissioner Gooley, the authority to say, OK you can't agree I'm therefore saying it's this," she said. The dispute has now been running for eight months.