Members are encouraged to read our newsflashes and the COVID-19 information for health workers provided on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Commonwealth Department of Health websites.
Information is updated regularly. ANMF has collated the important links all in one place, so you don’t have to go looking. Please bookmark and check this page regularly – anmfvic.asn.au/COVID-19
Members with COVID-19-related employment questions can ask via the Member Assistance online inquiry form. Please read through the information on our website before submitting a question. Member Assistance is not taking phone inquiries as ANMF staff are working remotely.
Members with complex inquiries will still have phone contact with staff.
The DHHS advice in the Coronavirus Guidance Note on Employment-Related Matters was last updated on 15 May.
Latest coronavirus statistics in Victoria
As of 28 May 2020, the Victorian Chief Health Officer reported:
- the state’s number of COVID-19 cases was 1628 – there were 10 new cases since the day before.
- 8 people are in Victorian hospitals with COVID-19, including 3 in intensive care. 19 people have died.
- 165 cases have an unknown source of infection, a decrease of 18 since the day before.
- 1,544 people have recovered. More than 480,000 tests have been completed.
Mental health royal commission given extension
On 27 May the Andrews Government announced an extension to complete the work of Victoria’s mental health royal commission.
The final report and recommendations are now expected early February 2021 instead of 31 October.
The commission has continued to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, but the virus has affected its ability to engage with people and organisations, particularly in regional Victoria.
These reforms are vital for our mental health system, and it is important to get it right.
Mental health nursing workforce roundtables scheduled earlier this year were postponed allowing public health services to prepare for a COVID-19 surge. More recently ANMF has nominated members to participate in roundtables via Zoom.
Mental Health Reform Victoria (MHRV) continues its work implementing the royal commission’s interim report’s recommendations. ANMF officials have met with MHRV chief executive officer Pam Anders, and chief advisor Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Simon Stafrace to discuss how ANMF and our members can engage with their implementation work.
On 15 May the Andrews Government announced 60 new graduate mental health nurse placements as part of $6.5 million to address workforce challenges identified by the royal commission.
Currently, ANMF continues to negotiate new EBAs for public sector mental health nurses and shortly for our Forensicare nursing staff, so the workforce is ready to implement the much-needed reforms. View the claims and EBA updates via anmfvic.asn.au/EBA2020mentalhealthnursing
COVID-19 guidance for mental health services
The Department of Health and Human Services has developed guidance for mental health services during the pandemic and members are encouraged to read the following documents:
- Providing acute mental health care in the community – intensive mental health community care coronavirus COVID-19 response (updated 22 April 2020)
- Framework and guidance for mental health care during COVID-19 (updated 5 May 2020)
Wellbeing grants for mental health and AOD workforce
The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a resource list to promote healthcare worker wellbeing and is offering wellbeing grants to the mental health and AOD workforce. Grants are for provision or purchase of workforce wellbeing supports that can be accessed or offered to individuals, teams, and/or organisations. Applications opened on 22 April and close on 5 June.
PPE update: new guidance and mask compliance concerns
ANMF continues to raise members’ concerns about personal protective equipment at the weekly Safer Care Victoria committee.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ personal protective equipment taskforce has centralised PPE storage and stock levels.
It is now working to understand orders, delivery, use and stock levels at facilities across the state. This will assist with tracking and accountability and to see if there is consistent usage across health services. Members should still be able to access PPE, but it may need to be recorded.
Members are encouraged to ensure they read the DHHS’ new and updated PPE information and guidance:
- Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Infection Prevention and Control guideline (25 May)
This new document is intended to make it easier to find information. It combines several previous guidelines, including:
- Healthcare worker PPE guidance for performing clinical procedures
- Rational use of PPE and laboratory testing
- Fact sheet for higher-risk healthcare workers
- The ‘Infection prevention and control’ section in the ‘Case and contact management guidelines for health services and general practitioners’
- COVID-19 – PPE and levels of protection (20 May)
This new document details different PPE items explaining their most appropriate use. This document needs to be read in conjunction with the other PPE guidance, but provides clarity around different types of masks, gowns etc.
- DHHS COVID-19 – a guide to the conventional use of PPE (updated 20 May)
- Respiratory support for children during the COVID-19 emergency (updated 27 May)
This is a new guide
- Work continues on guidance for mental health and aged care services in addition to CPR in different clinical areas.
WorkSafe Victoria has issued new guidance Managing coronavirus (COVID-19) risks: Healthcare and social assistance industry – Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE). This guidance explains fit testing and fit checking, and notes that fit testing is an important part of a respiratory protection program and should be conducted so far as reasonably practicable.
PPE and compliance
There have been media reports raising concerns about the compliance of some masks on the market.
ANMF understands all masks purchased through Health Purchasing Victoria, accessed via the statewide stockpile, meet all Therapeutic Goods Administration approval requirements.
The PPE taskforce is reviewing compliance of stocks purchased elsewhere and any impact on stock levels and access.
It is critical that members, with concerns about masks at their health service or other PPE, raise the issue with their employer and HSR, complete incident reports and check compliance where possible. If compliance is unable to be determined, or a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached contact ANMF Member Assistance.
Surge workforce register closed
The Department of Health and Human Services has closed its Working for Victoria – Health portal to further expressions of interest due to the state’s success in slowing the spread of the virus.
More than 15,000 health professionals, including nurses and midwives, expressed their interest in working within the Victorian health system as part of the response to COVID-19.
The number is significant and demonstrates a generous and dedicated workforce willing to support Victorians during the pandemic.
Reminder: 2020-21 membership fees will not increase
ANMF (Vic Branch) membership fees will not increase for the 2020-21 financial year to help ease the financial burden on our members and their families.
For the past three financial years, ANMF (Vic Branch) Council has capped its membership fee increase to two per cent from each July. Membership growth has enabled ANMF to keep these increases to a minimum, while continuing to provide core services and develop new benefits and services.
Your membership fees are tax deductible as a work-related expense.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Education Centre virtual classroom courses
Information about some ANMF (Vic Branch) Education Centre courses moving to a virtual classroom was included in the last newsflash. In case you missed it – you can find these courses and registration links via anmfvic.asn.au/virtualclassroom
Upcoming courses include:
- Asthma management – a holistic approach– 17 June
- Promoting mental health in nursing practice: addressing individual needs and applying mental health principles– 12 & 26 June
- Promoting mental health, addressing individual needs: a course for nurses and personal care workers in aged care– 19 June
- Promoting mental health in maternal and child health and midwifery practice: addressing individual needs and applying mental health principles– 24 June
- Pain and the older person: partnership precedes prescription– 24 June
- Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Clinical assessment modules and an extra $60 CPD online credit for members
The ANMF (Vic Branch) Education Centre is offering a series of clinical assessment online modules to support nurses wanting to develop their clinical skills in recognising and responding to acute clinical deterioration, including the COVID-19 patient. The 12 one-hour modules on the CPD Portal are:
- Introduction to acute care/recognising and responding to clinical deterioration
- Airway management & unconsciousness
- Respiratory failure
- Oxygen therapy
- Non-invasive ventilation
- Mechanical ventilation
- Arterial blood gasses
- Advanced ventilation
- Advanced ventilation (prone)
- CXR interpretation
All members receive annual credit to use on the ANMF (Vic Branch) CPD Portal. Full and part-time members receive a $400 annual credit* (or $120 for members on parental leave and $80 for student members).
All ANMF members will receive an additional $60 credit to use on the CPD Portal as a special member benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let your colleagues know that ANMF has halved the module price to make it easier for any non-members to complete these important modules. Non-members should click ‘non-member login’ to log in or create an account.
*ANMF (Vic Branch) members’ annual credit is renewed every July.