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    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Nurse to patient ratio legislation introduced

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Tuesday, December 01, 2015

    Nurse to patient ratio legislation introduced

    The Palaszczuk Government has fulfilled another election promise with the introduction into Parliament today of historic laws to ensure safe nurse-to-patient ratios in Queensland’s public hospitals. 

    The amendments to the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 will require minimum ratios in public sector health service facilities. 

    “This is a win for both patients and nurses in our great public hospitals,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. 

    “Patients will get better care as this sets minimum standards for nursing care in hospitals. 

    “And nurses will have more manageable, safer workloads and increased job satisfaction.”

    Under the legislation and regulation, prescribed medical, surgical and mental health wards will be 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.

    These ratios will be introduced in stages across Queensland from 1 July 2016. 

    It is expected that around 250 additional nurses will need to be recruited to meet the ratios at a cost of $25.9 million. 

    Hospital and Health Services will be responsible for meeting the ratios set out in the legislation, and will meet the cost from existing resources. 

    Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said that once the Act had been in operation for one year, the Government would review its effect and consider whether the ratios should be extended to other wards and facilities, or different ratios should be developed. 

    He said the Bill was the product of a wide variety of views through a broad-ranging consultation process, exposure drafts of the bill being distributed to 46 organisations, including nursing and midwifery colleges, Queensland schools or nursing and midwifery, and the Australian Medical Association (Queensland). 

    “We have also consulted widely with the Queensland Nurses Union, the Together Union and the Australian Workers Union in putting together this legislation,” Minister Dick said. 

    “We see a responsible role for trade unions in representing their workforce in providing input into legislation such as this which will have a big impact on their members and I thank those unions for their input.”

    “This is a vital part of our commitment to ensuring that Queensland’s public hospitals provide the best possible outcomes for all patients.” 

    The legislation is on top of an additional $212.3 million over four years announced by the Premier in July, for 4,000 graduate nurses and up to 400 nurse navigators.

    Mr Dick said that research which showed the positive impact of having more nurses in hospitals had been published in a range of prestigious academic journals, such as the British Medical Journal, the Lancet, and the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

    “One paper in particular, published in 2002 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that for each additional patient beyond four assigned to an RN, the risk of death increases by 7 per cent for all patients,” he said.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Fraser 0429 690 679

    The legislation will apply to Medical Wards at the following facilities:

    • Atherton Hospital
    • Bundaberg Hospital
    • Caboolture Hospital
    • Cairns Hospital
    • Caloundra Hospital
    • Gladstone Hospital
    • Gold Coast University Hospital
    • Gympie Hospital
    • Hervey Bay Hospital
    • Innisfail Hospital
    • Ipswich Hospital
    • Logan Hospital
    • Mackay Hospital
    • Mareeba Hospital
    • Maryborough Hospital
    • Mount Isa Hospital
    • Nambour Hospital
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital
    • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital
    • Redcliffe Hospital
    • Redland Hospital
    • Robina Hospital
    • Rockhampton Hospital
    • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
    • Prince Charles Hospital
    • Toowoomba Hospital
    • Townsville Hospital
    • Warwick Hospital

    Surgical Wards at the following facilities:

    • Atherton Hospital
    • Bundaberg Hospital
    • Caboolture Hospital
    • Cairns Hospital
    • Gladstone Hospital
    • Gold Coast University Hospital
    • Hervey Bay Hospital
    • Ipswich Hospital
    • Logan Hospital 
    • Mackay Hospital
    • Maryborough Hospital
    • Mount Isa Hospital
    • Nambour Hospital
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital
    • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital
    • Redcliffe Hospital
    • Redland Hospital
    • Robina Hospital
    • Rockhampton Hospital
    • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
    • Prince Charles Hospital
    • Toowoomba Hospital
    • Townsville Hospital
    • Warwick Hospital

    Mental Health Wards at:

    • Royal Brisbane & Womens Hospital
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital