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Health assistant in nursing trials in Victorian Hospitals

The Napthine Government has announced health assistant in nursing (HAN) trials will take place at Eastern, Monash and Barwon Health.
It is well established, through international research, that skill mix is an important determinant of quality patient care and adverse outcomes. Representing the professional and industrial needs of members, the ANMF is concerned about members' ability to continue to provide safe and quality care when skill mix is threatened.

We are concerned the Napthine Government's announcement to run health assistant in nursing (HAN) pilot programs at Eastern, Monash and Barwon Health is a further step in its bid to cut the health budget by abolishing nurse/midwife to patient ratios through the substitution of registered and enrolled nurses with health assistants. At the 2013 Annual Delegates Conference, held in June, Health Minister David Davis was asked whether he could promise that a re-elected Coalition Government would not try to substitute nurses with health assistants in the negotiations for the next public sector nurses and midwives enterprise agreement in 2016. Disappointingly Mr Davis' reply was not a categorical ‘no' instead saying: "Well, that is not the intention. The intention is that these are additional nurse assistants, they're supernumerary."

In light of recent international research and the findings and recommendations from the Francis Report into the terrible care standards at the Mid Staffordshire hospitals it is critical we recognise when attempts to reduce health care costs threaten patient care. It is also vital to maintain the skill mix in Victoria's public hospitals to ensure there is enough qualified staff to meet the increasingly complex patient care needs.

News

Read the 2011 health assistants in nursing pilots report - 6 September 2013
This 2011 Victorian Department of Health report reviews the health assistant in nursing pilots that took place at Bendigo Health and Austin Health in 2009. This report is important reading for anyone involved in the Napthine Government's health assistant in nursing trials at Eastern, Monash and Barwon health. [ READ MORE ]
A culture of budget before care equals the suffering of thousands - 1 August 2013
In February 2013 Robert Francis QC released his final report into the public inquiry on the substandard treatment of patients between 2005 -2009 at Stafford and Cannock Chase Hospitals - part of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. [ READ MORE ]
Health Minister refuses to commit that AINs will not be in ratios - 1 August 2013
Health assistant in nursing trials are being established at Eastern, Barwon and Monash Health networks, Victorian Health Minister David Davis told the recent Annual Delegates Conference. [ READ MORE ]
Resources
Report: Evaulation of three Better Skills Best Care pilot projects
This report was prepared for the Victorian Department of Health in 2011 by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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The Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) changed its name to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) on 26 July 2013

© Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch), 2006
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2013
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