ANMF Calls for Urgent Safe Staffing Plan Amid RHH Code Yellow

28 December 2022

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Tasmanian Branch have renewed calls for an urgent nursing and midwifery workforce plan following a Code Yellow (Internal Emergency) being activated at the Royal Hobart Hospital today. 

The Code Yellow comes after ANMF members have been reporting staffing challenges in the lead up to Christmas due to increased patient presentations and staff illness due to COVID-19. 

The ANMF had been calling for consultation on a staffing strategy from mid-November, however, this was not convened until the 23rd of December when significant challenges were already occurring. 

 ‘After the Tasmanian Government committed to developing a nursing and midwifery workforce plan in July this year to assist with COVID-19 waves, it is incredibly frustrating that our members at the RHH now find themselves in a completely reactive situation. 

Members are again being relied upon to prop up the RHH’ said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd, today. 

Many members have been asked to return from annual leave despite high rates of burn out and fatigue among members from dealing the COVID-19 pandemic as there is literally no other option. 

‘This situation just illustrates how critical it is that the Tasmanian Government does everything that it can to retain and recruit nursing and midwifery staff. 

We know that at the RHH that additional beds have been stood up to support additional patient presentations, but there isn’t the nursing staff available to staff them safely.’ 

Many members are now grappling with looking for alternate care for children, cancelling leave plans and travel to assist, but many are struggling to do so and some who can’t due to being COVID-19 positive themselves. 

‘Clearly, there is limited options at this point, other than calling a Code Yellow, however, this is not best practice. 

There must be urgent prioritisation by the Tasmanian Government to develop a well resourced workforce plan to increase critical nursing and midwifery resources.’ 

The ANMF are continuing to support members at the RHH and across the State and have provided members at the RHH with specific information regarding their Industrial entitlements if requested to return to work.