Mr Melhem (Western Metropolitan): My constituency question is to the Minister for Health, the Honourable Jenny Mikakos. Last month in this place I spoke in support of legislation to improve nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios. These adopted changes will see an extra 600 nurses and midwives employed in Victorian public hospitals. Nurses and midwives can now devote more time to each patient, resulting in safer care and better health outcomes. We will now begin work on more amendments to the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act 2015, which will deliver an extra 500 nurses and midwives, taking the total to 1100. I am also pleased that more than 150 nurses and midwives will soon commence work at Sunshine Hospital. My question for the minister is: what impact will this legislation have on health services that operate across my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region?


Ms Mikakos (Northern Metropolitan—Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services): The Andrews Labor Government is committed to ensuring delivery of high-quality healthcare for all Victorians. On 14 March 2019, I had the pleasure of visiting the site of the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Sunshine with the member and other Labor colleagues. This brand new $200 million hospital will allow more women to give birth closer to home and provide world-class maternity and specialist paediatric care for families needing children’s services. More than 150 nurses and midwives will call this hospital home when it opens its doors. This is in addition to the extra 600 nurses and midwives that will be employed across the State as a result of our Government’s recent improvements to the Safe Patient Care Act 2015. Government’s changes to the Act will create a range of positive impacts for all public health services, including those in the western metropolitan region. For example, amendments to the rounding methodology will mean that, in most circumstances when calculating staffing requirements, the number of nurses or midwives must be rounded up to the next whole number, ensuring that staffing reflects increasing patient complexity and contemporary workload levels. In addition, new and increased ratios across a range of clinical settings will create consistency in service provision and deliver more nurses and midwives where we need them most. Together, these changes will have a positive and lasting impact for healthcare provision in this State and in particular, for the member’s local community in the west of Melbourne. The Andrews Labor Government will also establish a $50 million Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund that will build the capability and capacity of the workforce.