Members of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) working at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH) and in Southern Tasmania will hold Strike Action tomorrow as they escalate their industrial action in pursuit of safer workloads to ensure safe and quality patient care.
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary said it’s disappointing the state government hasn’t put forward any tangible immediate solutions for members now, instead offering to start Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations early if the ANMF stops the strike action and vacate the Workload and Workforce Dispute in the Tasmanian Industrial Commission (TIC).
“This is very disheartening for members because just saying thank you is not enough anymore. Our members are burnt out from working overtime, double shifts, shifts worked short and the continued pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ultimately, the issues that members are frustrated about, such as working short of required nursing staff on shifts and expecting existing nurses and midwives to fill vacant shifts on a constant basis, is already breach of the existing industrial agreement, but the Government has yet to address these issues even though the ANMF took the dispute to the TIC in January this year.”
The ANMF says in a competitive recruitment environment is essential that the Tasmanian Government renumerates nurses and midwives for the critical art and science they deliver in their nursing and midwifery practice in a contemporary and evolving healthcare environment, which is
delivered holistically and 24/7. The existing renumeration is making recruitment even more challenged and is also not enticing nurses and midwives to stay.
In addition, the ANMF is seeking a variety of immediate clinical resources, such as clinical coaches, to provide support to nurses and midwives through their own individual novice to expert transition.
“What our members are seeking are immediate solutions to assist with their ongoing and sustained unreasonable workloads in order to ensure that no further nurses and midwives are lost from the nursing and midwifery professions in Tasmania and further that there will be better opportunities to recruit to vacant positions.
“Starting negotiations early (prior to November 2022), doesn’t provide members with any real outcomes to help them right now and does nothing to assist our members with their concerns when they have already been waiting over 6 months for solutions.
“Our members will not be ignored and will continue to stand up for the health and wellbeing of their colleagues and importantly for safe and high-quality care for Tasmanians who need to access public health services. The Government at the very least must take steps to comply with their industrial obligations and ensure that there is a sustainable nursing and midwifery workforce available in Tasmania,” said Ms Shepherd.
Nurses and midwives are the backbone of the Tasmanian health system, they have stepped up and led the COVID-19 response in Tasmania and have also been the ones to provide holistic high- quality care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic around the clock. The Government will argue that this makes nurses and midwives the most expensive resource as they are required 24/7, however, that it is exactly what makes them so essential, a critical resource worth supporting and paying for the art and science they bring 24 hours a day 365 days of the year to Tasmanian community. The Government must now step up and act to support nurses and midwives, just as they have been doing for over two years during a global pandemic.
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021