After the destruction of the Queensland Healthcare system under the defeated Newman Government,the Queensland Palaszczuk Government has commited to invest an additional $212.3 million over four years in important nursing workforce initiatives to improve patient safety and healthcare in Queensland’s Hospital and Health Services. The Palaszczuk Government will also introduce historic laws to ensure safe nurse to patient ratios.
As part of the investment, 400 experienced nurses will be employed across the state to help patients to navigate the health system.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Cameron Dick said nurses and midwives were a crucial part of the State Government’s plan to deliver a better health system for Queenslanders.
“International research shows that nurses have the biggest impact on patient safety and better health care outcomes for patients, Unfortunately, many nurses have told me how they were s
tretched too thinly by the previous government.” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Strengthening the nursing workforce leads to shorter periods of stay in hospitals, improved clinical outcomes, reduced wait times and better access to care.”
The Palaszczuk Government is set to legislate nurse to patient ratios to establish the number of patients that can safely be allocated to a single nurse in Queensland public health facilities.
Ms Palaszczuk stated “That legislation will make Queensland only the second Australian state and one of only a handful of governments the world over to legislate nurse to patient ratios. It is not widely understood that there are currently no laws governing how many patients can be safely be allocated to a single nurse in public care facilities.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the government would invest $101.6 million over four years – in addition to internal funding – to rebuild and expand the nursing workforce across the State.
The 400 Nurse Navigators will help patients navigate an increasingly complex health system by focusing on the patient’s entire healthcare journey, rather than on just a specific disease or condition. This will make a patient’s journey through our health system more efficient by ensuring patients are supported by the most appropriate service for their needs.
Health Minister, Cameron Dick, said the government’s Refresh Nursing and Nursing Guarantee policies mean that skilled nursing professionals will be with sick patients and their families when they are needed most.
“The government will legislate for phased implementation of minimum nurse–to–patient ratios that will ensure safe, quality care in our hospitals and the best possible outcomes for patients,” Mr Dick said.
The health minister said “These ratios of 1:4, 1:4 and 1:7 respectively for morning, afternoon and night shifts will ensure that when a patient presses the bedside buzzer, they will promptly get the caring attention they need.”
The Government is also providing $110.7 million over four years, in addition to internal funding, for up to 4,000 new nurse and midwifery graduate places.
Sixteen new Nurse Educator positions will be established to support these graduates as they enter Queensland’s nursing and midwifery workforce, which will support effective local implementation of the graduate program.
Mr Dick said the health system would need an increasing number of nurses in the future as the demand for health services continued to grow.
“We want to encourage young Queenslanders to choose nursing as a great career that offers a huge range of opportunities.
“Investing in the early stages of graduate careers will lead to long-term benefits for new nurses and midwives as well as for the health system.
“These additional graduates will help to take over from nurses who are retiring and fill gaps in critical areas of the workforce with specialty needs.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to increasing our highly skilled nursing and midwifery workforce to ensure we have the best possible health system in Queensland.”