Public sector midwifes members – it’s time to review your employer’s nomination of occupied birthing suites to ensure compliance with the Safe Patient Care Act 2015.
Section 21 of the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act 2015 requires that in February and August each year, the operator of a hospital:
- must determine the number of occupied birthing suites in the hospital for the six months starting on 1 March or 1 September of that year (as the case requires) and
- must publish the determination on the hospital’s internet site.
To determine the number of occupied birthing suites, the operator of a hospital must take into account:
- the number of birthing suites used for birthing or midwifery assessments during the preceding 12 months
- any factors that are likely to increase or decrease the number of birthing suites to be used for birthing or midwifery assessments during the following six months.
A nominated birth suite is one that is occupied or available to be occupied and used for care of birthing women or for midwifery assessment.
Safe Patient Care improvements
Further Improvements to the Safe Patient Care Act 2015 concerning maternity are scheduled for July in 2022. These improvements are:
- 1 March 2022: rounding – on morning shifts, as above
- 1 July 2022: post-natal wards – plus one midwife in charge on the night shift.
ANMF Job Reps are encouraged to assist ANMF staff review their employer’s nomination of birth suites and where required maternity assessment units. It is particularly important given that many services in 2021 experienced significant increases in demand, which is expected to continue in 2022.