27 June 2018
As previously advised The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) attended the Community Group Budget Lock Up on Thursday 14 June, 2018. There were substantial commitments made to the health budget, however many of these were included in the forward estimates and some, such as the LGH Ward 3D were not even included in the forward estimates. Health Minister Michael Ferguson indicated that their election commitments were based on a 6 year plan for health which is why there were some omissions.
However, many broad health commitments were included in the budget that will occur within the 2018-2019 financial year. These include:
- An additional total 76 new hospital beds across the state
- 120 more graduate nurse positions (this will equate to 30 additional places per year over four years)
- Roll out of air conditioning units across the major acute hospitals
- Expansion of the Community Rapid Response teams (to be implemented in the South and North West)
For individual regions there were funding commitments to improve the state’s hospitals. These include:
- $142.9 million dollars allocated to complete the RHH K block with expected completion mid 2019.
- Existing ward upgrades have been allocated in the budget to commence in 2019 with $28.1 million dollars allocated for these wards and Repat.
- $2.5 million in this financial year was allocated to the Midlands Multipurpose Centre upgrade with an additional $2.6 million in the forward estimates.
- $95 million dollars has been allocated to boost mental health including funding for 25 additional mental health in-patient beds with opening of these expected in 2019.
North West Region
- $35 million dollars was allocated to the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH) for capital upgrades with completion expected by 2021.
- $4.2 million dollars was allocated for a purpose-built ante natal clinic at the North West Regional Hospital(NWRH) with an expected completion date of 2020.
- $17.6 million dollars was allocated to the NWRH to establish 8 new acute medical beds with completion by 2020.
- $10.5 million dollars was allocated for Stage 2 of the King Island redevelopment with an expected completion date of 2022.
- $87.3 million dollars allocated for the redevelopment at the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) in the 2018-2019 financial year, including the proposed new antenatal clinic.
- A $10 million dollar total budget allocation for improved car parking at the LGH was also designated to being in 2018 with a completion date of 2020.
- $6.3 million dollars in funding to complete the Ward 4K re-development was also in the budget with a completion date set for 2020.
- Flinders Island Hospital was allocated $1 million dollars for improved staff accommodation with a completion date of 2019.
- $7.8 million dollars was allocated to support the continuation of the St Helens Hospital Redevelopment.
ANMF are pleased to see their lobbying on behalf of members through the budget submission has resulted in some key member priorities being addressed including, additional in-patient beds, capital works for increased capacity, community rapid response teams for the South and North West, and funding to support Kind Island and Flinders Island.
However, ANMF also recognize that there has been limited support of primary health services and recognition of the need to invest in recruitment and retention strategies. Despite the Government projecting a $161.9 million surplus in the 2018-2019 financial year and in every year of the forward estimates retention of the current nursing and midwifery workforce and strategies to recruit additional nurses and midwives to the staff additional inpatient beds, has been ignored by the Tasmanian Government.
ANMF on behalf of members have been calling for a wage rise to ensure Tasmania is as competitive in retaining and recruiting nurses and midwives as every other state and territory in Australia, yet the Tasmanian Government have reaffirmed their intent to retain a 2% wage cap this year and every year in the forward estimates. This will see nurses and midwives the lowest paid in Australia and at risk of worsening vacancy rates and inability to safely staff any additional in-patient beds.
Through the public sector nurses and midwives negotiations, ANMF will continue to negotiate a competitive wage increase, especially in light of the Government being able to afford one, and will work with our fellow public sector Unions to brake the 2% wages cap. Keep up to date on progress through our EA update emails, as well as online via anmftas.org.au/EA18.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the ANMF Member Support Team on (03) 6223 6777 or 1800 001 241 if you are outside the Hobart area. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.