More than 91 extra nurses have been employed across South West Healthcare since 1999, Gayle Tierney MP, Member for Western Victoria announced today.
Ms Tierney said that the 29.3% increase in local nurses since 1999 was a product of Australia’s most successful nurse recruitment and retention campaign, and the continuing effort by the Brumby Government to rebuild Victoria’s hospitals and health services.
“This is a significant milestone for the South West, and shows the Brumby Government’s commitment to invest in the healthcare of all Victorians,” Ms Tierney said.
“The Brumby Government has a proud record of supporting local health services, compared to the former Liberal- National Government which cut 3,500 nurses across the state in 7 years.”
Health Minister Daniel Andrews said Victoria had recruited more than 8,800 additional nurses into the public health system since 1999 and is continuing to provide assistance to nurses who want to return to the profession.
In a bid to address global nursing shortages, the Brumby Government recently announced funding for up to 30 new postgraduate nursing super-scholarships and refresher courses for up to 20 nurses to return to intensive care.
“This Government currently spends over $40 million per year to recruit and retain health professionals, and the recruitment of these extra 8,800-plus nurses has enabled our hospitals to treat more than 2.43 million people in 2007/08 – 600,000 more than in 1999,” Mr Andrews said.
“Nurses who have left the profession are encouraged to consider returning as there is now more flexibility to accommodate part-time employment so that a work-life balance can be achieved.”
Mr Andrews said public hospitals, mental health agencies and public aged care services now employ 29,981 nurses – with more than 10,400 working in rural and regional health services.
The Brumby Government continues to support the development and growth of the nurse workforce, including Division 2 nurses – who are an important part of the nursing team, working as associates to senior Division 1 nurses.
“Starting last year, the Brumby Government is funding 1500 additional training places for Division 2 nurses over four years, and earlier this year we launched a $4.4 million recruitment campaign in the UK,” Mr Andrews said.
“We also allocated $74.1 million in the recent State Budget to help develop a more flexible workforce with initiatives such as the use of nurse practitioners.”