The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to give nurses and midwifes the support they deserve to give Victorians the care they need.
Legislation will be introduced on the first day of the 59th Parliament today to enshrine once and for all improved minimum nurse and midwife to patient ratios.
The new legislation will finish what we started – and then we will go further. Once these improvements are made, we will commence a new round of changes that will see the total of new nurses and midwives in Victoria reach 1,100.
Amendments to the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act will mean the number of nurses and midwives on a variety of shifts will be rounded up – instead of down – removing a quirk that meant nurses and midwives were often carrying a workload up to 50 per cent higher than the prescribed ratio.
Ratios will be improved in palliative care, birthing suites and special care nurseries, as well as during peak times in emergency department resuscitation cubicles. Victorians suffering from stroke, blood disease and cancer will also have more nurses, with new ratios in acute stroke units, haematology wards and acute inpatient oncology.
The Government will also deliver on its commitment to create a $50 million Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund, which will expand the existing Registered Nurse and Midwife Graduate Program and establish a graduate program for Enrolled Nurses for the first time.
This will employ 400 Enrolled Nurses over the next four years, with 100 of these positions to be available to TAFE graduates from next year, meaning Victorians will be able to study a Diploma of Nursing for free at TAFE, as one of the Labor Government’s free priority TAFE courses, then start work as an enrolled nurse once they graduate.
The Fund will also provide up to 400 postgraduate scholarships for current nurses and midwives to upgrade their skills, 400 places in programs such as the Postgraduate Midwifery Employment Program, as well as refresher programs for 800 nurses and midwives currently registered but not practicing so they can re-enter the workforce.
It will also include $10 million for grants, scholarships, graduate jobs and refreshers for regional students and current nurses and midwives.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Nurses and midwives are there for us when we need them the most. That’s why we’ll be there for them, supporting them to provide Victorians the care that they deserve.”
“We promised we would deliver 1,100 new nurses and we’re not wasting a minute. These changes will deliver an extra 600 new nurses with more to come.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos
“The evidence is clear – allowing nurses and midwives more time to spend with patients means better, safer care.”