The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) has today attended the Tasmanian Industrial Commission (TIC) following an industrial dispute being lodged by the ANMF on behalf of LGH ED members on 28 September 2021 with respect to sustained and untenable workloads.
To date the ANMF has managed to secure a commitment from the Tasmanian Health Service (THS) for the purchase of private hospital beds for public patients, recruitment of agency staff to fill up to up to 28 full time equivalent ED nursing positions, a work health and safety review of the entire department, clinical coaches to support a less experienced skill mix and also Nurse Navigators to assist to patient access and flow.
The ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary Emily Shepherd said today, “it is incredibly concerning that the ANMF has had to lodge a dispute with the TIC in order to have significant patient and staff issues addressed by the THS and the Department of Health”.
Whilst the outcomes secured by the ANMF for LGH ED members will go some way to offer support and assistance to a struggling workforce, the ANMF has also secured a commitment by the THS to convene an LGH ED committee to address the broader issue of access block and COVID-19 preparedness.
“The lack of urgency to implement COVID-19 preparation plans when borders are set to open on 15 December 2021 is staggering, when the LGH ED is already on a knife’s edge without COVID-19.
“The Premier and Deputy Premier have stated that they are ready for the State’s borders to open on 15 December 2021, however, LGH ED members do not feel ready and in fact are fearful about COVID-19 entering the state and the ability of the LGH ED to cope,” Ms Shepherd said.
“Just last week due to access block, there was not one available ED cubicle and two unwell admitted patients awaiting an inpatient bed were returned to the waiting room to sit in a chair to make way for two emergency patients who had presented. This is not an ED that is prepared to deal with COVID-19.”
Further capital works to secure a safe area to triage COVID-19 patients will not be completed until June 2022, yet the modelling realised by the Government show a peak onset of infections for March 2022.
“Our members cannot be expected to just ‘make do’ after December 15, as they have been expected to for some time, executive management need to step in and support every proposed solution to support the staff and patients in the LGH ED in order to mitigate this enormous risk, “Ms Shepherd said.
A report back is scheduled with the TIC for 11 November 2021 to assess the progress on agreed outcomes.
ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021