Rockhampton Hospital.
Rockhampton Hospital. File

Extra frontline staff for CQ health services

CENTRAL Queenslanders could have better health services access with the latest promise from the Australian Labor Party as part of the State Election campaign.

The party announced today that a re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government will recruit an additional 120 nurses, an extra 20 midwives and expand the Nurse Navigator program to 15 in the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services (HHS).

Prermier Annastascia Palazczuk said the commitment was part of a $167m, four-year package to further improve health services and strengthen the frontline, including nurses and midwives, across the State's 16 HHSs.

The Palaszczuk Government has already recruited an extra 111 full-time equivalent (FTE) nurses, 53 FTE doctors and 25 FTE health practitioners for the HHS. In stark contrast, the Newman-Nicholls LNP Government cut 31 nursing positions and another 12 health practitioners from the HHS.

The commitment includes expand safe nurse-to-patient ratios to acute public mental health wards; introduce public reporting on safe staff to patient ratios in aged care settings; lobby the Commonwealth Government to staff-to-resident ratios, including nurse-to-resident ratios, in private aged care facilities; maintain the Nurse Graduate Placement Program to ensure the nursing workforce is refreshed and grows every year; and harness the expertise of our nurses to lead programs to improve the coordination and integration of patient care between our hospitals and the primary care and aged care sectors.

Assistant Infrastructure Minister and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said ALP has a legislated nurse-to-patient ratio in adult acute medical and surgical wards, despite the opposition of the LNP.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the commitment of additional frontline nurses, the expansion of the Nurse Navigator program and the continuation of the Nurse Graduate Program was an important boost for health services.

Labor candidate for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke said legislated nurse-to-patient ratios had set minimum standards for nursing care in the State's hospitals, including Rockhampton Hospital, improving patient care and giving nurses more manageable, safer workloads and increased job satisfaction.

"Under the legislation and regulations introduced by the Palaszczuk Government, prescribed medical, surgical and mental health wards are required to maintain a minimum of one nurse to four patients for morning and afternoon shifts, and one nurse to seven patients for night shifts," he said.

"This legislation was a milestone for health services for people across Queensland, including in Rockhampton.

"I welcome the commitment to expand that to acute public mental health wards."

Labor candidate for Gregory Dave Kerrigan and Labor candidate for Callide Darren Blackwood said the additional staff for Emerald and Biloela hospitals was a commitment to maintaining high levels of care.

Central Queensland HHS hospitals and health care centres include Baralaba Multipurpose Health Service, Biloela Hospital, Blackwater Hospital, Blood Borne Viruses and Sexual Health, Capricorn Coast Hospital and Health Service, CQ Mental Health Services, CQ Rural Outpatient Clinics, Emerald Hospital, Emerald Community and Primary Health Services, Gladstone Hospital, Gladstone Community Health Service, Moura Hospital, Mount Morgan Multi-purpose Health Service, Rockhampton Hospital, Rockhampton Community and Public Health Service, Springsure Multi-purpose Health Service, Theodore Multi-purpose Health Service and Woorabinda Multi-purpose Health Service

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