Nurses provide Springborg and Newman with full briefing on key health and aged care issues in Queensland
Published: 13 June 2012
Payroll is not the only issue – it is time to broaden the focus
The Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) has this week provided the new State Government with a full briefing on the priority issues for Queensland’s nurses and midwives and the evolving role of nursing and midwifery in the State’s healthcare system.
Both the Premier, Campbell Newman, and Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, have been provided with a copy of the 60-page Nursing and Midwifery in Queensland, which has been specially prepared, and up-dated, for each new Health Minister over the last ten years. The State Opposition has also been given a copy. Mr Springborg was also provided with a verbal briefing earlier in the week.
The QNU State council, at its normal bi-monthly meeting, was today given an overview of this week’s government briefings.
QNU secretary, Beth Mohle, said Nursing and Midwifery in Queensland gives the new government vital background on the QNU, the Queensland public health system, the work of nurses and midwives and the priority issues for nurses and midwives as of May 2012.
“Nurses and midwives are the largest occupational group in Queensland Health and one of the largest across the Queensland Government. So it is essential the Premier and Health Minister have a clear understanding of who they are, what they do and what their potential is.
“Overcoming the problems with the Queensland Health payroll system is obviously an important priority and we have provided information on what has been achieved to-date and what processes we think are necessary to ensure nurses and midwives are paid properly.
“However, we have also made it very clear that the payroll is not the only issue and we need to also focus on various other vital issues at this time. This is essential to keeping Queensland nursing and midwifery and our public healthcare system strong.
“We look forward to working with Mr Springborg and his ministerial colleagues on the implementation of our new workplace agreement, EB8, and the many other issues we have outlined in Nursing and Midwifery in Queensland. These include:
- continuing to address the nursing and midwifery shortage – it is estimated that, over the next ten years, Australia will require up to 13,500 new registered nurses, each year, to meet the increasing demand for nursing services that the growing and ageing population will bring;
- continuing to improve patient safety and reduce complaints by providing sufficient nursing staff, in the right skill mix (a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of safe staffing can be found on pages 17-21 of Nursing and Midwifery in Queensland);
- developing new models of care, which better allow nurses to use their full range of skills;
- the expansion of midwifery models of care within the State’s maternity services;
- aged care issues affecting the public hospital system;
- the need to ensure new graduate nurses get employment as nurses - and quickly;
- the costs of contracting out to agencies - especially while new graduates are not being employed;
- giving nurse unit managers (NUMs) more authority, to ensure those with the local knowledge can get on with the job of safe patient care; and
- addressing the various health service issues arising from the resources boom.
“Healthcare is a major priority for any State Government and Queensland nurses and midwives are up to the challenge of improving the health care of our community, if given the necessary resources and authority to do so,” Ms Mohle said.
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