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ANMF calls for ratios in private acute health services and day procedure centres

ANMF calls for ratios in private acute health services and day procedure centres

The Victorian State Government is undertaking a review of the Health Services (Health Service Establishments) Regulations 2013 (the Regulations), which cover private hospitals and day procedure centres.

The Regulations are important to your practice as a nurse or midwife in a private hospital or day procedure centre because they set minimum requirements for staffing levels and skill and experience mix (including possible minimum nurse/midwife to patient ratios), nursing and midwifery career structure, clinical governance requirements and quality and safety.

ANMF (Vic Branch) recently submitted to this important review, and as part of our submission drew on the expertise and insights of our members employed within private hospitals and day procedure centres. Thank you so much to those who took the time to contribute; your feedback was pivotal to informing our response and was incorporated into our written submission.

This submission is the beginning of our consultation with government on this vital issue; further, in-depth consultation will continue from November until at least March 2024. We will keep members updated as discussions progress.

Our preliminary submission made a number of recommendations for amendments to the existing Regulations that we believe will achieve improvements in:

  • nursing and midwifery staffing levels
  • nursing and midwifery career structure
  • clinical governance
  • regulation of emerging areas of clinical practice (including cosmetic surgery and mobile anaesthesia)
  • occupational health and safety
  • and support of graduate nurses and midwives.

Some key advocacy points to note include amending the Regulations to:

  1. Establish minimum nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios in general and specialty areas. These are identical or align closely with the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act 2015.
  2. Provide high-quality transition to practice programs that align with the Nursing and Midwifery Transition to Practice Program Guidelines 2018.
  3. Where the private hospital offers maternity and newborn services, aligning with the nursing requirements to appoint:
    1. a Director of Midwifery [DOM], who is a midwife, where the Director of Nursing does not hold registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia as a midwife.
    2. a Deputy Director of Midwifery to deputise for the DOM.
    3. A Midwifery Unit Manager per ward/unit providing maternity and newborn services
  4. Insert a requirement for private hospitals and day procedure centres to appoint:
    1. a Deputy Director of Nursing to deputise for the DON
    2. a Deputy Director of Midwifery to deputise for the DOM
    3. an after-hours coordinator, who is a registered nurse, to be responsible for the site in the off-duty periods of the DON.

The Branch will keep all members updated with further developments regarding this matter.

Members interested in further information about the review of the Regulations can find more on the Department of Health website.