The ANMF attended the Budget Lockup on Thursday 12 November 2020, where the Tasmanian Government finally announced the budget for the 2020-2021 financial year as well as outlining a number of longer term funding allocations for Health across the forward estimates.
A summary of the key the new funding announcements for Health included:
- Additional Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Educators
- COVID-19 Health General Allocation – This includes a $51.7 million allocation to support the continued COVID-19 response
- COVID-19 Rapid Response Team – $1.6 million allocation to support the Rapid Response Team in the event of a further outbreak
- Elective Surgery Funding – $45.5 million over two years to address the rising elective surgery wait times
- Health Care and Front Line Workers Accommodation – This continues the commitment for public sector nurses and midwives to be supported in alternate accommodation if they live with vulnerable family members during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Primary Health Support – An allocation of 1.3 million was allocated to equip the primary health sector to continue its response to COVID-19
- Demand and Bed – An additional $50.2 million over two years to meet demand faced by major hospitals and to support opening beds in major hospitals
- Child and Adolescent Health – $4 million was allocated over two years to support the recommendations of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services review
- Mental Health Integration and Reform – $4.1 million over two years was allocated to address priority areas in the Rethink Mental Health Plan 2015-2025.
- Reform Agenda for the Alcohol and Drug Sector – $4.9 million was allocated over two years for the Reform Agenda for the Alcohol and Drug Sector
- 30 New Graduate Nursing Positions across the State
- Digital Health Transformation and Human Resources Information System – 21.6 million allocated to upgrade HR systems to do away with paper-based processing
Clearly, the budget was focused, appropriately so, on the COVID-19 response, however it missed the need to invest in the Nursing and Midwifery workforce and the need to grow the numbers of Tasmanian Nurses and Midwives. In addition, despite lobbying for support of District Hospitals across the State, there was no allocation to implement a staffing model to support these essential services. The ANMF will continue to lobby for the investment into the Nursing and Midwifery workforces as a matter of priority.
Updates correct as at 11 November 2020.
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary