Nurses put list of ideas for savings

TASMANIAN nurses have presented Health Minister Michael Ferguson with a list of suggestions to make savings in the health system.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation yesterday released a detailed cost savings paper at its annual delegates conference, with recommendations including:

•A review and potential amalgamation of the state's three Tasmanian Health Organisations, conditional on regional representation.

•A feasibility study on privatising elective surgery.

•A review and reallocation of Tasmanian Health Assistance Package funding granted by then federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in 2012.

•The timely release of budgets to ensure budget money is available July 1.

•Filling vacant positions with permanent staff, rather than casuals and overtime shifts.

•A new IT system, with current systems outdated and creating inefficiencies through their lack of integration.

•A review of inpatient length of stay, providing reasons why it is longer than interstate and offering options for outsourcing, particularly with patients who are homeless, are living with disability, or living with mental illness.

•That high-risk patients are transferred to the Wilfred Lopes Centre, a secure mental health facility for offenders, and public education provided to reduce the stigma attached to the facility.

•Standardise prostheses used to replace body parts, removing the ability of surgeons to choose particular brands.

•The use of local hotels rather than acute beds for pre and post-acute care.

ANMF state secretary Neroli Ellis said they had made similar submissions to state governments before, with little success, but new budgetary pressures had created an appetite for change.

Mrs Ellis said governance, human resources and systems changes were needed to increase efficiency, make savings and reduce overtime, with Northern Tasmanian nurses working 139 double shifts during April.

Mr Ferguson said the government would consider the ANMF's recommendations during the budget process.

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