A glaring loophole in the nurse-patient staffing model in states across Australia has allowed a number of hospitals to employ cheaper, underqualified nurses and pocket the proceeds, with some nurses warned to keep the issues under the radar and off the official incident management record.

New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia use a Nursing Hours per Patient Day (NHPPD) staffing model instead of a direct nurse-to-patient ratio, as used in Victoria and Queensland. (South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory also use variations of the NHPPD staffing model, but haven’t reported similar issues.)