The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has written to all major political parties and Independent MPs and Senators, seeking their commitment to the ANMF’s five-core priorities to reform Australia’s health and aged care systems.
In the letter, the ANMF explained that while the COVID‐19 pandemic was a once in a century global health emergency, many of the pressures and problems it has revealed across many sectors including aged care, public and private hospitals, mental health, primary health, maternity care and disability are longstanding issues that prevent safe, appropriate, effective and affordable care for all Australians.
Therefore the ANMF is seeking responses from all political parties and politicians on its following priorities:
- A high-quality, well-funded health and maternity care system, with the capacity and resources to meet increased demand and complex needs across all sectors, from preventative and primary health, to hospital and end of life care. This includes:
- Increasing the Commonwealth Government’s contribution to 50% for activity, beyond the temporary COVID-19 specific partnership agreement
- States and territories to reinvest the 5% of ‘freed-up’ funds to improve performance and capacity
- Removing the artificial 6.5% cap on funding growth that is shared between states and territories, so funding can meet community health needs based on realities on the ground
- Updating healthcare funding models and policy frameworks to remove structural and financial barriers to community member’s access to nurse and midwife-led services particularly in areas of poorer access to health and maternity care services
- Funding continuity of care models and supporting maximum utilisation of the nursing and midwifery workforces to enhance health promotion and public health, increasing preventative healthcare measures, and facilitating better access to primary healthcare
- Increasing Commonwealth Government funding of the primary and preventative care sectors to 5% of total health funding
- A well-funded and regulated aged care system that supports a strong, valued aged care workforce to work safely and effectively to deliver high-quality, dignified care to all residents and clients. This includes:
- Funding and legislating the requirement for 24 hour registered nurse presence in nursing homes
- At least one registered nurse on site in every nursing home at all times
- Funding and legislating minimum staffing ratios and, at a minimum, the mandated care minutes
- The right skills mix (per the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations and in accordance with the ANMF’s implementation plan)
- Legislating clear transparency measures that require funding to be tied to care
- Improving conditions and fund increased wages.
- A strong, valued post-pandemic healthcare workforce that is supported to work safely and effectively to deliver the best possible experience and outcomes to every patient and client. This includes:
- Mandating publicly reported, evidence-based minimum safe staffing ratios and skills-mix across the health, maternity, and aged care systems to ensure the best health consumer outcomes and the delivery of safe, high-quality care in all settings
- Funding the development and implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based nursing, midwifery, and care-worker workforce planning
- Working in collaboration with health and aged care unions and stakeholders, health and workforce researchers, and nursing and midwifery peak bodies to improve recruitment and retention of the nursing, midwifery, and care-worker workforce, through: eg. RUSON/M programs, guaranteed secure jobs, guaranteed workplace safety and wellbeing
- Funding and expanding the Nursing and Midwifery Health Program Victoria to a national program for access by all nurses and midwives across Australia
- Gender equity in all Australian workplaces and enhanced recognition of and solutions to the increased burden on the nursing, midwifery and carer workforce. This includes:
- Ensuring equal rights for working women
- Eradicating the gender pay and superannuation gap
- Acting on all 55 recommendations of the Respect@work Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (2020)
- Providing free, accessible childcare
- Expanding paid parental leave
- Embedding respectful relationships in workplaces across Australia
- Ending all forms of workplace violence
- Future-ready policies, legislation and practices that genuinely and pro-actively address the climate crisis and its negative health impacts on Australia, the region and the world. This includes:
- Developing and implementing a standalone, National Plan on Climate, Health and Wellbeing based on the Framework developed by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA).
- Funding programs and initiatives that support those most adversely impacted by climate change including people living in drought and natural disaster affected regions in Australia and neighbouring regions in the South Pacific.
- Funding and supporting initiatives which actively reduce the carbon footprint in healthcare, eg. sustainability officers based in hospitals who can support local projects to reduce waste, improving energy use and other sustainability measures.
“In our wealthy, well-resourced and highly-developed country, every Australian should be able to expect and receive the very best health and aged care, delivered in a timely fashion, according to their wishes, in a place of their choosing. To achieve this, genuine, significant and sustained reform is urgently required, ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler said.
“The ANMF has written to all political parties and independent politicians to seek their commitment on our five-priority issues for the upcoming federal election and the specific actions the next government will need to take to ensure real reform in the health and aged care systems. Our politicians must place the health and wellbeing of the Australian people at the heart of their policies – they can achieve this by addressing the ANMF’s five-core priorities.”
The ANMF will be sharing politicians’ responses to its election priorities with members and supporters.