The Safe Patient Care Amendment Bill passed the upper house of Victorian Parliament on Thursday 21 February.
The Bill was introduced as the first piece of legislation tabled by the re-elected Andrews Government on 19 December 2018. It passed the lower house on 30 January.
It will become law when it receives royal assent, which is anticipated in coming days.
The Bill will mean an additional 611 nurses and midwives in the Victorian public health system over five years, phased in to allow for recruitment and the development of workforce capacity.
From 1 March 2019
- the abolition of the ‘50 per cent rule’. Health services must always round up the number of nurses or midwives when the number of beds is not equally divisible into a whole number when applying the ratio. This applies on all shifts in Level 1 and 2 hospital medical and surgical wards , coronary care, high dependency units, post anaesthetic recovery rooms and Level 1 emergency departments
- the 50 per cent rule is abolished on night shifts in high care residential aged care, Level 2 emergency departments, and Level 3 and 4 hospital medical and surgical wards, coronary care, high dependency units and post anaesthetic recovery rooms.
- abolition of the Level 1 emergency department night duty formula
In phases commencing 1 March 2020
- the 50 per cent rule is phased out in palliative care, geriatric evaluation management, special care nurseries, neonatal intensive care, antenatal and postnatal wards, and on morning and afternoon shifts in rehabilitation wards.
- new ratios introduced in acute stroke, haematology and acute inpatient oncology wards
- improved ratios in palliative care, birthing suites, special care nurseries, and emergency department resuscitation cubicles
A second round of ratio reform will lead to an additional 547 nurses and midwives. These improvements will be contained in a second amendment bill.