The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has today welcomed the Opposition’s election pledge to fund a new national health service to provide health and well-being support for nurses and midwives across the country. The national service will recognise the strain endured by nurses and midwives over the last three years and will assist them to stay in their jobs by preventing unnecessary burnout.
The ‘National Nurse and Midwife Health Service’ is an expansion of a the long-established Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria (NMHPV), a successful not-for-profit service helping nurses and midwives in Victoria since 2006. The NHMPV has not only delivered positive outcomes for Victorian nurses and midwives directly but has also had benefits for their places of employment, colleagues, families, networks, communities and importantly, the people they care for over many years. Healthy nurses and midwives are much better equipped to deliver safer care.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has announced, that if elected, the ALP would commit $18.7 million to expanding the service nationally, to ensure ‘health and well-being support for our frontline nursing heroes’. The new service would provide professional, personalised early-intervention programs for exhausted nurses and midwives, helping them stay at work and preventing them from walking-away from the profession at a time of dire workforce shortages across Australia’s health system.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said today: “For the last three years, nurses and midwives have been called to action like never before. They have been at the heart of Australia’s response to COVID-19 on virtually every front and been witness to the impact of these events on our communities. The pressure they have been under is not just the pressure of caring directly for COVID patients and the ongoing COVID response – but also the pressure of caring for people with other emergencies and health conditions, many of which have been delayed and have worsened over the last two years. They have had no respite.
“Nurses and midwives are exhausted – they’ve dealt with unrelenting workloads, with scared, and often, very sick patients in hospitals, with and without COVID, who relied on them totally when their relatives couldn’t visit. This has been even more difficult while wearing full PPE, which takes extra time but also makes communication and connection with patients more challenging. They’ve done all this while also caring for our own families and dealing with COVID in their local communities.
“We know how successful the NMHPV has been for Victorian nurses and midwives, and we have been advocating for its expansion to a national program for many years. We are delighted that we have finally been heard – that a Labor government, instead of empty platitudes, will commit to a national service that will provide genuine and meaningful support for nurses and midwives, and their work, across the country.
“The ANMF and our members commend Mr Albanese and Labor for this commitment, and welcome their recognition that the Government needs to care for nurses and midwives so they can keep caring for every Australian.”