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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Tasmanian Branch) has called on the Tasmanian government to invest in the health system and, importantly, nurses and midwives who have led the fight against COVID-19, in its upcoming state budget.

According to the union, nurses and midwives are working hard to support the community under increasing strain and need additional resources.

Its key priorities include:

  • Recruiting nurses and midwives to fill existing vacancies by funding base salary increases to ensure nurses’ and midwives’ wages are, on average, competitive with other states and territories
  • Increasing nurses and midwives in Tasmania by funding permanent positions for all Tasmanian graduate nurses
  • Funding clinical coaches and clinical educators for all wards and units that have more than 30% of their total workforce in early career roles
  • Funding an improved relief factor to cover know periods of leave, such as long service leave, to ensure rosters can be filled

ANMF (Tasmanian Branch) Secretary Emily Shepherd said the state’s health system was under “enormous pressure”, especially from the added stresses of battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses and midwives are bearing the brunt, she said, and must be recognised and supported with extra resources in the upcoming state budget to ensure they do not succumb to burn out.

Ms Shepherd said the state’s nurses and midwives were working incredibly hard across COVID-19 testing clinics, hotel quarantine, and in vaccination clinics across Tasmania, in an enormous response to COVID-19. Yet, many have left roles on other parts of the health system that were already subject to high vacancy rates and workloads.

“The need for Tasmania to compete with other states and territories to attract nurses and midwives and keep our home grown graduates here in permanent positions is more important than ever, with high vacancy rates across the country and reduced enrolments in universities in other jurisdictions from next year,” Ms Shepherd said.

“All too often the budget focuses on infrastructure, but more buildings and beds will not support Tasmania’s health without the nursing and midwifery workforce to go along with it.”