Tasmanian nurses fighting for improved workloads and safer staffing went ahead with strike action outside Launceston General Hospital yesterday after a last-minute proposal by the state government offering solutions arrived too late.
In pouring rain, hundreds of Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Tasmanian Branch) members walked off the job for a 15-minute strike yesterday afternoon to urge the government to act and ensure quality patient care.
The action followed a strike held outside the Royal Hobart Hospital last week, which prompted the government to present a package of solutions to the union on Tuesday night for members to consider.
In addition to safe staffing and workloads, the union 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.
Key commitments contained in the government’s latest proposal include:
- A Return to Work Bonus of $2,000 for recently resigned nurses and midwives
- Trial of Clinical Coaches on all wards and units where 30% or more of the establishment is comprised by Novice Practitioners
- Agreement to meet on Workforce Modelling
- Trial of a state-wide Transition to Practice Model – with immediate appointment to permanency (with six months’ probation)
- A review of current vacancies and to assess positions for Enrolled Nurses
- Expanded Virtual Care Options – For Hospital Avoidance
- Improving Anti-Viral Access
- Increased Private Hospital Support for Public Hospitals
- Commencement of Enterprise Agreement Negotiations to address wages for nurses and midwives
While ANMF acknowledged that the government’s latest offer shows it has been listening to the pleas of exhausted nurses and midwives working through the pandemic, it says the proposal was not provided with sufficient notice to suspend yesterday’s industrial activity outside Launceston General Hospital.
“It’s pleasing to see that the Premier has listened to members concerns and has seriously considered appropriate solutions to address members workloads and safe staffing,” ANMF Branch Secretary, Emily Shepherd said.
The government’s proposal was presented to members at yesterday’s strike and will be considered by the ANMF (Tasmanian Branch) Branch Council tomorrow.