Nurses and midwives in Victoria’s public hospitals will be able to devote more time to patient care, thanks to stronger nurse and midwife to patient ratios being introduced by the Victorian Government.

An extra 600 nurses and midwives will be employed in Victorian hospitals as a result of changes to nurse and midwife to patient ratios.

A nurse-to-patient or midwife-to-patient ratio is the number of nurses or midwives in relation to the number of patients they care for. The Safe Patient Care Act, sets minimum nurse and midwife to patient ratios in Victorian public hospitals.

The Victorian Government wants to change and strengthen the law to mandate that the number of nurses and midwives on a variety of shifts is rounded up instead of down. This means more nurses and midwives will be on-hand to care for patients.

In addition, amendments to ratios will provide more nurses in palliative care, birthing suites, special care nurseries and emergency departments during peak times. New ratios will also be introduced in acute stroke units, haematology wards and acute inpatient oncology.

The improved ratios ensure nurses and midwives can devote more time with each patient. As a result of higher staffing levels, patients will receive safer and higher quality care and enjoy better health outcomes.

The amendments follow an extensive and independent assessment of the laws by the Nurse/Midwife to Patient Ratio Improvements Taskforce and consultation with unions, health services and representative bodies.

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