Right To Information (RTI) documents that have been released, show that for the period July and August 2016, there were 87 fewer double shifts than in the same period in 2015.

This is a positive sign that the Hodgman Government’s policy to cap nursing and midwifery double shifts is working.

There is however still more to be done. Work is currently underway to understand why and when double shifts happen to ensure future strategies are tailored to address the causes and provide more long term sustainable solutions.

What is also apparent is that some of the clinical areas where double shifts are occurring, such as in mental health and emergency departments, are also the areas where there are a higher number of aggressive and violent incidents.

The RTI documents show 295 incidents of aggression during the period July 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016.

These incidents would no doubt be a contributing factor in the necessity for double shifts and overtime.

The Government is taking action and delivering on our election commitment to legislate for mandatory minimum sentences for serious assaults on frontline workers.

Tabled on Tuesday, the Sentencing Amendment (Assaults on Frontline Workers) Bill 2016 will ensure that a person who commits an offence resulting in serious bodily harm against nurses and midwives, ambulance officers, paramedics, child safety officers and correctional staff, will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of six-months in jail, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

These are strong laws that send the right message and extend the legislative protections that the Government implemented for police officers, which were opposed by Labor and the Greens.

The THS Annual Report, tabled yesterday, shows that more than 140 full-time equivalent (FTE) additional nurses have been hired since we came to Government, as well as an additional 30 FTE allied health professionals and 32.63 FTE doctors.

While the additional nurses should help alleviate double shift pressure, we have also opened more hospital beds across the state, such as at the Launceston General Hospital where we reopened an additional 12-beds, which add to the challenge.

To view the document visit: https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/your_rights/rti/right_to_information_disclosure_log

Subscribe to my newsletter

Get the latest news direct from Michael.

Thanks for subscribing