Victorians fighting cancer, women giving birth and our state’s sickest babies will get the care they need with the Andrews Labor Government to introduce new, stronger nurse and midwife to patient ratios.
For too long nurses and midwives were forced to trade away their own pay and conditions to guarantee ratios, which make sure they have enough time to spend with their patients. The Labor Government fixed this in 2015, making Victoria the first state to enshrine in law a minimum number of nurses and midwives in public hospitals.
Now, the Labor Government will strengthen these laws with amendments to the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act to be introduced into the Parliament in August, which will see an additional 600 nurses and midwives employed in public hospitals across Victoria.
Under the changes, the number of nurses and midwives on a variety of shifts will be rounded up instead of down, ensuring Victorians aren’t short changed on care and safety.
Ratios will be increased to provide more nurses and midwives to care for Victorians 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 to care for them with new ratios to be introduced in acute stroke units, haematology wards and acute inpatient oncology.
In addition, a re-elected Labor Government will help more Victorians train as a nurse or midwife, with a new $50 million Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund.
The Fund will expand the existing Registered Nurse and Midwife Graduate Program and will 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.
This means 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 working as an enrolled nurse as soon as 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 refresher programs for rural and regional students and current nurses and midwives.
Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Nurses and midwives are the heart of our hospitals, caring for Victorians and saving lives – we’ll make sure they have the support they need to keep providing the care and comfort patients deserve.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“The evidence is clear – allowing nurses and midwives more time to devote to their patients means safer and better care.”