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More nurses for WA and new programs for King Eddies under WA Labor

Posted on March 7, 2021
  • 400 new nurse graduate placements will be created over two years with funding secured
  • Aboriginal midwifery group practice model introduced as additional maternity support for women
  • Strong Links Program to support Aboriginal children reinstated at King Edward Memorial Hospital
  • New commitments build on McGowan Labor Government commitment to build new hospital
  • Fully funded $1.8 billion Women and Babies Hospital at QEIIMC secured through budget surplus
  • New hospital works are anticipated to commence in 2023 and will create more than 8,400 jobs

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will bolster WA’s health system with an additional 400 new nurse graduate placements.

WA’s nursing graduate program will be expanded to create 400 new nurse graduate placements over the next two years.

This will create opportunities for 200 more registered nurses and 200 enrolled nurses across the WA health system in 2021 and 2022.

Funding for the 400 new nurse graduates has already been secured with $36 million already provisioned in the Pre-election Financial Projects Statement, with the program now open.

The additional nurses will join the about 21,659 nurses and midwifery staff working at public hospitals and health services.

Last year 491 nurses graduated from the program. With an extra 200 new nurse graduates to join the program, we could see close to 700 new nurses graduate this year.

WA Labor will also roll out additional Aboriginal midwifery and support programs at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) boosting staffing levels with up to 15 more full-time equivalent positions to secure the services moving forward ahead of the new Women and Babies Hospital being built.

A commitment of $5.2 million will enable the Aboriginal midwifery group practice (MGP) model to be run at KEMH and creates an additional 12 full-time equivalent positions as part of the program, which is anticipated to be rolled out in 2021-22.

The practice provides a service for women who prefer to be cared for by the same midwife in a culturally safe way throughout their pregnancy journey, where the midwife provides this care in partnership with a KEMH specialist obstetrician.  It supports Aboriginal women to build a strong, trusting relationship with their known midwife. 

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will also reinstate the Strong Links Program which was discontinued by the former Liberal-National Government in 2014.

With a $1.8 million allocation, the program is expected to be operational from 2021-22 with the creation of three additional full-time equivalent positions and will help reduce the number of Aboriginal children going into care.

The Strong Links Program will employ Aboriginal staff to work in a culturally secure manner with the client and their families to mitigate risk factors during pregnancy, birth and in the immediate post-natal period to reduce the risk of children going into care. 

Following the trial at King Edward Memorial Hospital from 2012 to 2013, the pilot program resulted in improved antenatal attendance, decreased length of hospital stay, increased staff cultural competence and reduced the number of babies entering State care. 

The $7 million commitment towards more maternity health services comes on top of the fully funded $1.8 billion allocation the McGowan Labor Government has already made to build a new Women and Babies hospital adjacent to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital within the QEIIMC site.

These two programs will provide a much-needed boost to support the services at the hospital in the interim and follows the McGowan Labor Government’s Sustainable Health Review which recommended improvements to cultural security of birthing services for Aboriginal patients and their families.

King Edward Memorial Hospital has been operating from its Subiaco site since 1916 and as Western Australia’s only referral centre statewide for complex pregnancies is often the birthing location for many Aboriginal women due to increased pregnancy risk factors.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“Our nurses are doing a terrific job on the frontline and we need to ensure we continue to attract more people into nursing and create more jobs for Western Australians.

“An additional 200 placements each year over the course of two years means we have a steady flow of learning and teaching opportunities and WA patients continue to receive quality health care.

“As we get the planning and works underway for the new hospital, King Eddies will continue to operate at full steam and as such it needs more support – particularly in Aboriginal midwifery and care programs.

“That’s why we’re committing extra funding towards these two new programs that will operate at King Eddies, both of which create additional jobs and boost staffing levels, and improve Aboriginal health outcomes even further, outside the time people spend at the hospital.

“Already, we’ve secured the funding for this new $1.8 billion hospital which will make a significant difference to WA families.

“We’ve started this journey now and we want to finish the job we set out to do. 

“My Government has a track record of delivering big infrastructure projects and so if re-elected we will deliver on our commitment for a new world-class Women and Babies Hospital for WA.”