A new law passed in South Australia’s parliament will mean no nurse will ever be forced to work alone in isolated areas of rural communities.
Gayle’s Law, proposed and passed in memory of South Australian nurse Gayle Woodford, means single nurse postings in rural areas will be abolished, with nurses now only ever going on call-outs in pairs.
The body of 56-year-old Woodford was found in a shallow grave near the town of Fregon in the APY Lands in March 2016 after she responded to a late-night call-out for assistance.
Her killer, 35-year-old Dudley Davey, pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of the mum-of-two and stealing her ambulance. He was sentenced to life in prison. At the time, the court heard Dudley likely tricked Woodford into helping him by falsely claiming his grandmother needed help.
In his sentencing, South Australian supreme court justice Ann Vanstone set a non-parole period of 32 years.
“This was a cold-blooded killing of a woman who had worked with skill and compassion in your community,” the judge told Davey.
Now, in a hugely “positive” move for nurses across South Australia, parliament has voted in favour of their safety, voting for a bill that will mean they will never again have to respond to a call-out alone.
According to Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation SA chief executive Adj Assoc Prof Elizabeth Dabars, the move is a welcome one, but likewise a move that came too little too late for Ms Woodford.