In view of ongoing concerns in respect of staffing and workload, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) ACT branch recently wrote to the major parties and asked if they would commit to legislation for safe staffing levels if elected.
“The ANMF is extremely concerned that the Canberra Hospital is not effectively managing a shortage of Nurses and Midwives”, ANMF ACT Branch Secretary, Ms Jenny Miragaya, said.
“This is resulting in them becoming exhausted because of the need to do extra shifts and overtime”, Ms Miragaya added.
The ANMF disagrees with the Canberra Hospital’s claims that it has sufficient numbers of Nurses and Midwives, saying that this is inconsistent with reports from Nursing and Midwifery staff; who report regularly being asked to do extra shifts and told to work short-staffed because there aren’t enough Nurses and Midwives.
“Those responsible for actually providing care, our Nurses and Midwives, do not agree with the mantra from Canberra Hospital administrators that the public is not at risk, and the ANMF points to almost 20 unsafe staffing incident reports, including 11 from just two areas, over the past two months”, Ms Miragaya said.
“The only way the hospital can manage, is to have Nurses and Midwives work overtime and extra shifts”, Ms Miragaya added.
The ANMF believes this is not sustainable, with Nurses and Midwives reporting high levels of fatigue, and are at risk of “burning out”, and that there is a clear solution.
“The only way we are going to fix these problems and ensure the safety of the public is by introducing mandatory safe staffing levels”, Ms Miragaya said.
It is clear that this election, Health has taken centre stage. All major parties have made Health a priority. But the ANMF believes that the number one priority in Health is the guarantee that when someone comes to Hospital that there is a Nurse or Midwife to care for them; a Nurse or Midwife who is not tired from working overtime, extra shifts or staying back late.
“When recently polled by the ANMF, Nurses and Midwives overwhelmingly confirmed that they want mandatory safe staffing levels to provide the care the ACT community expects and deserves”, Ms Miragaya said
“We expect that the ACT Community is as keen as our Nurses and Midwives to know if the next ACT Government will act to ensure their promises of more nurses and midwives will be met through mandatory safe staffing levels”, Ms Miragaya added.
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