The paybacks have been coming thick and fast in Victoriastan; I guess they won’t ever stop as long as Dan the Man is in power.
But here is a clear payback to the Australian Nurses Federation, whose members? officials? paid actors? put on their nursing uniforms (is there still such a thing?) and door knocked for Dan the Man in marginal seats, particularly those located close to the Frankston train line.
Notwithstanding the fact that the minimum nurse-to-patient ratio is set down in binding enterprise agreements, the Victorian Labor government obviously wants to ensure that these costly and not particularly effective ratios are set in stone so should the electorate, in a weird fit of stupidity, elect a Coalition government in the future, the ratios will stay in place.
(Oh please, don’t be ridiculous – the Coalition wouldn’t even think of changing this. Gosh, Napthine says his more glorious moment was signing onto the (unaffordable) NDIS agreement and the SA Libs are calling for compensation for members of the stolen generation. This just proves that if a party is not resolutely anti-Left, it is Left itself.)
I guess one of the other motivators of the Dan the Man government is to foist this costly imposition on private hospitals so private health insurance and co-payments can rise even more.
Here’s the story:
The Victorian Government will introduce legislation to guarantee a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio as set out in current enterprise agreements.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the bill would take the staffing issue off the bargaining table for future industrial agreements.
There is no one figure for all public hospitals, as the minimum ratio depends on the type of care given and the time of day.
“Nurse patient ratios are really important for patient safety,” Ms Hennessy said.
“It goes to the quality and capacity of care that Victorian patients get.
“Nurse patient ratios are important because the greater the care and focus nurses are able to give to our patients, we know the better clinical outcomes that they have.”
Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement with Ms Hennessy while meeting with nurses at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The legislation will also provide “flexibility” to reconfigure nurse and midwife staffing and roster arrangements “to ensure the best utilisation of available nurses and midwives to maintain high quality care”.
Questions raised about cost
The agreement covers certain wards in Victorian public health services, public hospitals, and some residential care units.
The new ratios will not apply to private and not-for-profit hospitals, residential aged care facilities and public mental health services not covered by the Public Sector Enterprise Agreement.
Tom Symondson, the chief executive officer of the Victorian Healthcare Association, said it would closely monitor the progress of the bill, which was “unprecedented” in Australia.
However he was cautious about extra costs involved in monitoring the scheme.
“If the final legislation results in the need for additional resources to support [the] health services comply with the ratios, this needs to be fully funded by the Government,” he said.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has raised concerns about the cost of implementing the policy.
He questioned why, after a long period of consultation, the only people who have seen the bill are in the union movement.
“This costs a lot of money and it might be right, but if you haven’t budgeted for it, how the hell can you pay for it?
“Given they’ve only shown the unions the bill, one has to be a little suspicious about the intent from the Government and why on earth they’re doing it.”