15 September 2022
Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk
Hon Yvette D’Ath
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
SUPPORTING NURSES AND GROWING OUR HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE
Dear Premier and Minister D’Ath,
In light of pressures facing Queensland’s public health system, I’d like to encourage you to implement free uni and TAFE for new nursing and midwifery students.
I have spoken with dozens of nurses, midwives, allied healthcare workers and doctors about the pressures facing our public hospitals. People have shared stories about burnout, excessive overtime, pay not keeping up with inflation, poor conditions, and a culture of overwork. This is leading to many staff leaving, or planning to leave the sector, which will only leave our hospitals more stressed. Coupled with this are the limitations in our primary healthcare systems, which mean that hospitals are receiving patients of increasing acuity.
Queensland needs a plan to build our healthcare workforce. As you will have seen, the Victorian Labor government has recently announced plans to offer scholarships for domestic students entering nursing courses in Victoria.
Given the strong position of the Queensland budget, Queensland could afford to implement a similar, ambitious plan to support current nurses, draw former nurses back into the public health system, and keep and support current nurses.
The Queensland Government should offer:
- Free nursing and midwifery degrees for budding Queensland nurses to fix our state's workforce shortage: Queensland should implement course-cost-covering scholarship for all students starting in 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026 that enrol in a course that allows a person to register with AHPRA’s Nursing and Midwifery Board.This should include Diploma of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Midwifery, and a Masters of Nursing.
- Scholarships to cover the cost of re-entering the nursing workforce and courses to further the careers of existing nurses: Scholarships should cover the cost of completing a program or assessment to meet the requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia for nurses to re-enter practice. Scholarships should also cover postgraduate studies in areas like intensive care, cancer care, paediatrics and nurse practitioner specialities.
- Retention and workforce re-entry payments: Support payments of $5,000 this year and next year for all Queensland Health nurses and midwives to help support and retain existing nurses, and draw more staff into the public health sector.
Without implementing these plans, Queensland risks losing further healthcare staff, as people decide to student or work interstate, rather than in Queensland.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office on 07 3724 9100 if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail.
Member for South Brisbane