10 January 2019

The ANMF would like to say a special “thank you” to members at the Mersey Community Hospital who faced a difficult week this week. Members made the unanimous decision to postpone their ban on elective surgeries as part of the public sector industrial campaign. This decision was the result of threats by the Tasmanian Government to stand down nurses without pay if they did not proceed with elective surgeries.  This was despite there being no Theatre Nurses available across the State to replace them and carry out the surgeries anyway.

Read the latest newsflash from the Mersey here.

Members passed a resolution in November 2018 to ban (from January 1) all elective surgeries at the hospital if the Tasmanian Government did not bring to the negotiating table a competitive offer for Tasmanian public sector nurses and midwives. Despites the Tasmanian Government and the Tasmanian Health Service being notified of this resolution on 28 November 2018, no alternative arrangements were made.

Over the last week members, particularly those at the Mersey, have been vilified for undertaking industrial action that may have led to a small number of elective surgeries needing to be re-scheduled despite hundreds of Tasmanians being overdue for the elective surgery and hundreds more yet to make the elective surgery wait lists - some of which are the worst in the country. Our members do not take industrial action lightly and firmly believe that the Tasmanian Government have forced them to undertake such drastic action.

Members, like you have had enough of propping up an ailing health system that has hundreds of vacancies due to not having a competitive agreement compared to other states and territories. Nurses and midwives in the public sector are tired of dealing with over capacity hospitals, at times in unsafe environments while also doing over 15 million dollars in overtimes and double shifts, all to ensure patients are kept safe. Recently, in one instance theatre nurses worked 24 hours straight to ensure patients still received their surgery. It must be remembered that our members do not take action lightly. Instead of focussing on the issues at hand, that of protecting the nursing and midwifery professions and the broader Tasmanian Health System - the Tasmanian Government have instead strategically chosen to condemn the actions of the very nurses who are keeping patients safe.

You can learn more about the campaign and what actions are underway in your area by visiting ea.anmftas.org.au