ANMF has been meeting weekly with metropolitan health service maternity leaders to discuss strategies for addressing workload pressures, including:
- introducing a dedicated women’s and children’s allocations officer
- implementing an on-call/recall process
- implementation of the registered undergraduate student of midwifery (RUSOM) model.
ANMF has identified further strategies that the Department of Health could implement in public health services over the next six months to support re-engagement and retention of midwives and nurses in maternity services. These are:
- additional midwives – postnatal night duty ratios equal to morning and afternoon shifts
- a dedicated nurse/midwife, in addition to ratios, with appropriate skills to assist with care of unwell neonates on the ward
- additional midwifery support in birth suites of maternity capability levels 4, 5 and 6 hospitals to assist with the care that is required to meet the policies and procedures for the high-risk women accessing those services
- implementation of a fully-funded registered undergraduate student of midwifery (RUSOM) model in all maternity capability level 4, 5 and 6 services where they do not exist already
- removal of the SMS process for notifying shortfalls, which creates a continuous ‘high alert’ environment for staff and doesn’t allow for time away from work. Replaced by a dedicated midwifery allocations officer.
ANMF, together with experienced midwife Job Reps, met with representatives from the Department of Health and Safer Care Victoria to advocate for immediate strategies and a longer-term, state-wide maternity services review.
Maternity services members have reported increased demand, resulting in increased personal leave and fatigue caused by working double shifts, extra shifts and overtime.
The increased demand on Victoria’s maternity services is expected to continue throughout 2021.
Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria (NMHPV) ran forums for midwives and nurses working in maternity services in June. Maternity services staff could discuss their experiences and identify strategies to support their health and wellbeing.
The NMHPV offers free, independent and confidential counselling and support to nurses and midwives, and nursing and midwifery students. The program can be contacted on 9415 7551 or firstname.lastname@example.org