Nurse and midwife to patient ratios to increase in Victoria

Legislation will be introduced in Victorian Parliament today to enshrine improved minimum nurse and midwife to patient ratios.


The Government 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, 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 practising 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.


19 December 2018.