Media Door Stop
Where: 19 Brisbane Street, Launceston
When: 16 November 2022
Who: ANMF Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd and CHaPS Nurse
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian Branch (ANMF) is considering escalation of a Step 2 Statewide Grievance pertaining to Child Health and Parenting Services (CHaPS) to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission, following three specialist panel meetings with no outcomes to allay members significant concerns.
The ANMF raised a Workload Grievance on behalf of members back in August 2022 following ongoing member concerns with respect to CHaPs staffing across the State and significant concerns for children who are missing essential developmental checks.
“Members are reporting that a significant number of children in the North West have missed their 2-year check, with a major number in the North as a result of COVID-19. Members in South are delaying their clients to assist with urgent appointments in the North West via Telehealth. Many of these children now will possibly miss their 4-year-old healthy kids check as a result of a short staffing and a back log of activity.” said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd.
ANMF members working in the service have experienced a reduced service delivery due to COVID-19 escalation and have had to assist with the COVID-19 vaccination program. This has led to wait lists of children and their families trying to access the Nationally recommended child health checks, with newborn and at-risk children being prioritised.
“Whilst it’s accepted that service changes were required to assist during COVID-19, now that service has reverted, members are disillusioned by the lack of contingency measures being put into place to address the back log of appointments and to address the staffing shortage.
“Members have very valid concerns relating to the risks that missing these health checks present for children in our community into the future. If development delays and health issues are not picked up early and appropriately addressed, these can have lifelong impact.” said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd.
Critical to resolving this dispute is a Working Group meeting that was promised to be convened this week to look at re establishing a nursing workload model to benchmark the service and ensure appropriate nursing resources are available to meet community demands for key child health checks. However, no such meeting has been arranged. The ANMF have notified the Director of CHaPs that if tangible solutions are not provided in line with reasonable timeframes set out in correspondence sent on 27 October 2022, the matter will be lodged with the Tasmanian Industrial Commission to seek assistance in resolving these long standing and critical concerns.
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021