The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) welcomes the Andrews Government $13.2 million boost to ease the pressures on Victorian midwives following the unexpected baby boom at several health services.
ANMF has been meeting with ANMF midwifery members, health services, Safer Care Victoria and the Victorian Department of Health to advance immediate and longer-term initiatives to address the staffing challenges.
Most of the funding will be targeted at the health services experiencing the increased birth bookings to ensure midwives have reasonable workloads and mothers and babies receive safe care.
It will be used to increase the night shift postnatal ward ratio, implementation of registered undergraduate students of midwifery (RUSOM) models – above the ratios, and an additional appropriately skilled nurse or midwife to assist with unwell neonates on the ward.
Funding will also be used to create better systems to fill unplanned vacancies. In one example, ANMF recommended a dedicated midwifery allocations officer who could call midwives rather than bombarding everyone with text messages which was fuelling anxiety.
It will be spent over the next six months and the initiatives will be evaluated to inform longer-term strategies.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said ‘Health Minister Martin Foley has listened to midwives and their union and we are cautiously optimistic that we can reduce the stress on the workforce and ensure the safety of mothers and babies in their care.
‘These initiatives, proposed by ANMF and our midwifery members, will help in the short- and longer-term and the evaluation will be a critical part of this process.
‘A significant number of midwives are working part-time, and we hope that many will increase their hours when they know understaffing is being addressed.
‘This will be key while we build midwifery capacity through the government’s $50 million Workforce Delivery Fund and the ANMF’s $750,000 annual fee grants for post registration study which includes midwifery.’