ANMF Members Launch Industrial Action at Calvary Hospitals Statewide

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Members of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) employed at Calvary Health Care hospitals across the state have embarked on a course of industrial action, seeking to secure a safe staffing workload model and a wage increase that would facilitate much-needed recruitment. This action comes after years of concerns voiced by ANMF members regarding staffing levels in hospital wards and theatres, with little to no substantive action taken in response.

Nurses and midwives, the backbone of healthcare delivery, have been tirelessly dedicating themselves to providing safe and high-quality care to their patients. However, the persistent understaffing at Calvary Health Care hospitals has resulted in severe burnout among these healthcare professionals, often leaving them to operate with staffing levels significantly below the minimum required standards in public hospitals across the state.

‘ANMF members have exhausted every avenue of communication and negotiation to address these critical issues. Despite numerous attempts to raise these concerns through the consultative committee forum with Calvary, there has been a lack of meaningful response or resolution’, said ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd.

‘Negotiations have been ongoing for months, with a further negotiation meeting facilitated by Commissioner Wilson through the Fair Work Commission taking place just yesterday. Unfortunately, Calvary’s proposed workload model, particularly in hospital wards and units, is a significant departure from the minimum safe staffing levels that are standard in other hospitals across the state. Furthermore, Calvary could not guarantee that this model would be staffed by nurses. This is a serious concern for ANMF members, as it directly impacts the quality and safety of patient care’.

Despite Calvary’s recent acquisition of a $15 million aged care facility, the organisation maintains that it cannot offer a wage increase higher than 3%. This limitation is likely to exacerbate Calvary’s recruitment and retention challenges.

Calvary has informed the ANMF in negotiations held yesterday that they are unable to move any further. Consequently, ANMF members initiated industrial action on Saturday 2nd September, and will persist until Calvary presents a sensible offer that ensures staff retention and provides a workload model that guarantees safe staffing levels. ANMF members will distribute campaign materials to private patients with private health insurance, explaining the safety concerns they are advocating for, including mandated minimum staffing, a ban on overtime and call-backs from lunch breaks. They are also considering stop-work meetings in the near future.

‘The ANMF strongly urges Calvary to reconsider its stance on the workload model to align with industry standards, thereby ensuring the safety of patients and facilitating staff retention and recruitment. ANMF members are committed to their industrial action until they are confident that Calvary’s offer will genuinely address the critical issues of retention, recruitment, and safe and manageable workloads.’

Media contact:
Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary
Mobile: 0400 884 021