Updates: Royal Hobart Hospital

RHH Mental Health Workload Meetings

12 June 2019

Department of Psychiatry (DoP)
DoP continues to experience bed block with high numbers of patients continuing to wait in the Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM).A final workload meeting will be held at the end of June 2019, it is decided that most staffing concerns were now under control.

Representatives from DoP advised that staffing was much calmer on the unit. Most roster gaps are now resolved and very few casuals are being utilised. Casuals will be utilised to cover sick leave as normal. Night duty is now rostered as per the RHH roster guidelines, with staff required to work blocks of nights according to the guidelines. It is noted that management has received limited negative feedback in regards to this.

Psychiatric Emergency Nurses (PEN)
Psychiatric Emergency Nurses (PEN) in DEM continue to work under high pressure. Consistent bed block in DoP and the high number of mental health patients waiting in DEM has been a major factor for this. Unfortunately, PEN has gaps in establishment that mean PEN shifts are going unfilled.

Some PEN have taken stress leave due to the excessive workload pressures. The ANMF wrote to the Minister for Health, regarding the PEN workload crisis requesting increased resources and a model review. The ANMF had not received a response at the time of writing. However, Mental Health Services responded with a joint union, DoP, DEM and PEN meeting conducted on Tuesday 4 June 2019.

At this meeting it was agreed that a model review, as well as review of flow for mental health patients in DEM, would be conducted and supported by the ANMF. Mental Health Services also agreed to engage a second agency nurse to the PEN establishment as a matter of urgency. It was agreed that the afternoon shift was the busiest shift for PEN and required the most support. Cover for late shift would be prioritised in rostering while gaps exist.

Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM)
The ANMF received a response from DEM management regarding a number of concerns raised by members. The response provided that:

  • Vacancies in DEM are currently 1.91 FTE of permanent staff and 9.73 of fixed term positions, with recruitment underway to fill these positions.
  • 4 agency nurses are now in place in DEM.
  • There has been an unforeseeable amount of sick leave for DEM hospital aids. Part time staff have had their hours increased to assist with cover for this leave. This has improved the situation and will impact on providing increased support for the DEM nurses.
  • Further discussion regarding surgical and medical registrars is being undertaken by DEM management.
  • DEM management have commenced discussions with the RHH pharmacy to solve medication storage and preparation issues. Initial discussion has commenced regarding the use of Pharmacy Technicians, however, further discussions are required. Conversations around swipe access for medication cupboards continue.
  • Improved access to computer terminals throughout the DEM with specific consideration to the instillation of dedicated computers between cubicles 26 and 27 have been arranged.
  • DEM management will liaise with the Manual Handling Coordinator regarding the use of a hover jack for DEM.
  • The ANMF will continue to work with DEM staff and management regarding progressing member concerns and will touch base with Workplace Representatives soon to provide an update.

Ward 2A
The ANMF met with senior management regarding 2A. A security and safety review was completed and a report handed to management. 2A senior management have suggested that the necessary Occupational Health and Safety Measures will be implemented as soon as possible.