Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos says the Andrews Government supports maintaining the existing triple-qualification requirement for maternal and child health nurses.
Victoria is the only state or territory that requires maternal and child health nurses to be a registered nurse and midwife and to hold a postgraduate diploma in child and family health.
The ANMF advocates that these qualifications underpin the high-quality, specialist skills maternal and child health nurses need to support parents and their babies and children.
Ms Mikakos last month told reps at the 27th ANMF (Vic Branch) Annual Delegates Conference she recognised their ‘commitment, passion and dedication’, and noted the first bill passed by the Andrews Government after its re-election was legislation enshrining nurse and midwife to patient ratios – a first in Australia.
‘These provisions will have a significant and lasting impact on the provision of safe and quality health services in Victoria,’ she said, adding the government had allocated $64 million over the next four years to employ more nurses. She said the second tranche of ratio implementation would require an additional 500 nurses in the hospital system.
Ms Mikakos’ commitment to maintain the triple-qualification requirements in MCH nursing came a day after 760 delegates approved a resolution directing the ANMF (Vic Branch) executive to continue lobbying the Andrews Government to preserve the existing system.
‘We know that high quality services are associated with high levels of practitioner qualification,’ Ms Mikakos said. ‘And this high level of competence and broad scope of practice that comes with being a registered nurse, registered midwife and having completed a postgraduate degree or diploma or equivalent in maternal and child health nursing allows for autonomous practice within community-based – and sometimes isolated – maternal and child health centres.’
‘This assists really in-depth understanding of the post-natal experience and an understanding of neo-natal illness risk factors in child health and wellbeing.’
‘I am very committed to maintain the current qualifications,’ Ms Mikakos said. ‘We want to ensure that this high quality is maintained.’
Ms Mikakos said the government had worked with the union to achieve fair and equal pay to bring Victorian nurses into line with their interstate counterparts.
‘But there is always more than can be done,’ she said.