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Andrews Government secures unique nurses and midwives health service

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has welcomed the Andrews Government announcement that it will take over the funding of a unique health program for more than 98,000 nurses and midwives across metropolitan and regional Victoria.

The Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria (NMHPV) provides confidential support, one-to-one caseload management and referrals at no cost for nurses and midwives with a mental health or alcohol or substance use issue. The program is also available to nursing and midwifery students.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy made the announcement at the Nurses and Midwives Wellness Conference, attended by more than 1100 nurses and midwives at the Melbourne Convention Centre last Thursday. Today’s budget announcement confirmed the Victorian Government will provide the $627,000 annual funding required to run the program.

Victorian nurses and midwives originally funded the program, established in 2006, through their nursing and midwifery registration fees to the Nurses Board of Victoria. Funding has been uncertain since the move to national registration in 2010.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: “Nursing and midwifery are wonderful professions, but the nature of the work and the complex professional and legal responsibilities mean they can also be incredibly stressful.

“The Andrews Government’s commitment to the ongoing funding of this critical service demonstrates the wellbeing of nurses and midwives, those who care for others, is important.

“Nurses and midwives, who’ve used the service for anxiety, psychological distress, depression, alcohol and substance use, all emphasise the importance of its intimate knowledge of the nursing and midwifery professions which cannot be replicated by a generic employee assistance program.

“This investment means the Andrews Government has recognised the NMHPV protects the public, saves nurses’ and midwives’ lives and keeps nurses and midwives working,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

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Need help? Call the NMHPV on 03 9415 7551 or Lifeline 13 11 14