ANMF (Vic Branch) has made progress with community mental health nursing claims in continuing negotiations over the 2020–24 mental health enterprise agreement.
Claims relating to nursing skill mix, nurse-for-nurse backfill arrangements and tighter processes around recruitment of nurses to key roles in community mental health and backfill have progressed. ANMF welcomes VHIA and the Department of Health’s recognition of the critical role nurses play in community and crisis teams.
Progress on these claims reflects the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System report’s acknowledgement that consumers, families and carers need treatment and support closer to home.
ANMF has also achieved in principle agreement for our claim to correct staffing imbalances in high and low dependency units.
The ratios in high dependency units clause introduced in the previous round of bargaining inadvertently led to increased workload in low dependency units in some health services, as they moved staff into high dependency units to meet ratios.
The Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association (VHIA) has agreed to correct these staffing imbalances.
ANMF is still advocating for improved staffing profiles in mental health units across Victoria. The VHIA has provided staffing data which conflicts with information ANMF has received from employers and ANMF members. We have urged VHIA to confirm this data, and disappointingly this is till outstanding.
The Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) has escalated an industrial action campaign for its mental health members but ANMF does not believe industrial action is warranted for our mental health nurse members at this time.
ANMF (Vic Branch) has provided Forensicare and the Department of Health with staffing profile data from members and has received data from Forensicare that we are confirming with members.
ANMF (Vic Branch) has put forward a claim for increased prison nurses across Forensicare facilities, in line with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System’s recommendation for more forensic mental health beds.