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What the election means for nurses, midwives and carers

What the election means for nurses, midwives and carers

Premier Daniel Andrews announcing the $50 million nursing and midwifery workforce development fund at the 2018 Annual Delegates Conference. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

The re-election of the Andrews Government means work starts now on a delivering a long list of nursing, midwifery, health, mental health, maternal and child health and aged care commitments.

Many apply only to public health services. Where applicable ANMF will use these initiatives, such as staffing levels, as benchmarks for improvements in the private acute and aged care sectors.

Recruiting and retaining the extra nurses and midwives needed to improve ratios and staff new wards and hospitals will be a huge piece of work. Many initiatives are already underway.

ANMF is keen to start working with members and the Andrews Government to get all election commitments implemented. Read the Premier Andrews letter to ANMF. Here is a summary of those promises to nurses, midwives and carers:

Mental health

  1. Mental health Royal Commission: work starts in the first 100 days including appointing commissioners and announcing terms of reference.
  2. Enshrining the current public sector mental health staffing levels into legislation. (This will be part of the second tranche of ratio improvements. See below.)
  3. Invest another $4 million into the Hamilton-based National Centre for Farmer Health. This is for the promotion of good mental health and general health of farmers and their families.

Aged care

  1. Review Victoria’s residential aged care sector’s minimum quality and safety standards, including the state law controlling medication administration and management, by 30 June 2019. This is separate to the Federal Morrison Government’s Royal Commission into aged care and the ANMF national campaign to make nurse/carer to resident ratios law. Read the letter outlining this commitment from Premier Daniel Andrews.
  2. Build a new 120-bed public aged care facility as part of the Angliss Hospital expansion. This means 60 high care beds and 60 aged care mental health beds.

Improve ratios and build the nursing and midwifery workforce

  1. Improve ratios, introduce new ratios and remove the 50 per cent rule. Draft legislation will be re-introduced into the lower house in the first session of Parliament which starts in February 2019. The bill will include an amendment to clause 27 to include midwives in special care nurseries. The first tranche of improvements means an extra 611 nurses and midwives. Read more about the first tranche of ratio improvements.
  2. Draft legislation for a second tranche of ratio improvements and extensions. Includes legislating public sector mental health nursing levels in the current EBA. This will require an extra 542 nurses and midwives. See page 6 of Premier Andrews letter for an outline of the proposed ratio improvements.
  3. Reclassify Warrnmabool Hospital from level 3 to level 2. All hospital classifications to be reviewed by June 2022.
  4. Implement the $50 million Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund:
    1. expand the existing registered nurse and midwife graduate program
    2. establish a graduate program for 400 enrolled nurses for the first time
    3. free diploma of nursing courses at TAFE
    4. 400 postgraduate scholarships
    5. 400 places in the Postgraduate Midwifery Employment Program
    6. refresher program for 800 registered nurses and midwives who are not practicing
    7. $10 million for grants, scholarships, graduate jobs and refresher programs for rural and regional students and current nurses and midwives.

Build and improve hospitals

  1. Build a new $1.5 billion 504-bed Footscray Hospital to open in 2025.
  2. Start the $562 million Frankston Hospital redevelopment including 120 new beds, two new operating theatres, massive expansion of maternal and child health services and 50 mental health beds.
  3. Start the $31 million Royal Children’s Hospital expansion to build a new ward and a bigger and better emergency department.
  4. Build five new children’s emergency departments at Geelong, Maroondah, Frankston, Casey and Northern hospitals at a cost of $62.4 million.
  5. Start the $675 million development, upgrade or expansion of ten community hospitals. New hospitals will be built in Whittlesea, Eltham, Point Cook and Fishermans Bend and existing services will be expanded in Craigieburn, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Phillip Island, Sunbury and Torquay.
  6. Start the planning for a new hospital at Toolern, on the outskirts of Melton.
  7. A $217 million expansion of Latrobe Regional Hospital, including 44 additional beds, three new operating theatres, and 227 new carparking spaces.
  8. A $100 million redevelopment of Maryborough Hospital to provide more medical and surgical beds, and another operating theatre.
  9. Start the conversion of the Geelong Private Hospital into a public Women’s and Children’s Hospital with $100 million to start planning, design and early construction.
  10. Build a $60 million Bendigo Hospital Day Rehabilitation Centre.
  11. Continue the redevelopment of Wangaratta Hospital with a further $10 million.
  12. Rebuild Ballarat Base Hospital by 2026 at a cost of $461.6 million.
  13. Start more projects in regional and rural Victorian health services by boosting the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund by $100 million.

Maternal and child health

  1. Start building seven new early parenting centres and refurbish two existing centres as part of a $232 package to deliver more day stays, longer residential stays, a 24-hour advice line for sleep and settling issues and provide more support at home for new parents.

It’s a long list, a lot of work and a bold plan for the future. It will improve patient, client and resident care. It will grow the nursing and midwifery workforce. It demonstrates the Andrews Government has listened to nurse, midwives and carers.

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