The Health News – 31 August 2015

Overview:

• Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital is seeking more information about using electronic ankle bracelets on newborns. The device can be used to track a baby’s movements around the maternity ward, and it could trigger alarms causing doors and lifts to lock if someone tries to remove them.

• A long-running dispute between the Calvary group of hospitals and health insurer Medibank Private has ended with the signing of a new three-year deal.

• The Victorian Government will introduce legislation to guarantee a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio as set out in current enterprise agreements. The legislation will also provide “flexibility” to reconfigure nurse and midwife staffing and roster arrangements “to ensure the best utilisation of available nurses and midwives to maintain high quality care”.

News on Health Professional Radio.  Today is the 31st August 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.  

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-30/adelaide-hospital-considers-electronic-ankle-bracelets-newborns/6735708

Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital is seeking more information about using electronic ankle bracelets on newborns.

In some hospitals interstate and overseas, electronic bracelets are fitted to a baby’s ankle instead of written tags.

The device can be used to track a baby’s movements around the maternity ward, and it could trigger alarms causing doors and lifts to lock if someone tries to remove them.

The tag would also ensure a baby is not swapped or removed from the hospital accidentally.

In a statement the Women’s and Children’s Hospital said it was considering the technology as part of a broader review into IT systems.

South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling said while the state’s maternity wards are safe and secure, he would consider “anything that could be demonstrated to improve further the safety of babies”.

“We have strict rules around who’s allowed into nurseries to make sure our babies are kept safe,” he said.

“I can’t think of a case where a baby has been taken from one of our maternity hospitals, certainly not in recent times in any case.”

Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Elizabeth Dabars said mothers were often given tags as well.

“There’s a reassuring chirp that occurs when both the right mother and the right baby are placed together, and that chirp does not occur when it’s the wrong baby and the wrong mother,” she said.

“We must do all that we can to protect babies and of course keep their mothers safe as well.”

Associate Professor Dabars said the idea had the union’s full support.

“This would add another layer of security and certainty which I think offers important piece of mind.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-30/medibank-private-and-calvary-hospitals-reach-agreement/6735638

A long-running dispute between the Calvary group of hospitals and health insurer Medibank Private has ended with the signing of a new three-year deal.

An agreement between the two parties was due to expire …[today – on 31st August], meaning Medibank Private customers may have been charged additional fees for using Calvary hospitals.

The insurer last week released a list of 165 “Adverse Events” it would no longer cover, which included falls in hospitals and readmission to hospital as a result of a wound infection.

Calvary refused to accept the “quality and safety” measures demanded by Medibank Private as part of contract renewal negotiations.

In a joint statement by Medibank’s general manager Dr Andrew Wilson and Calvary national’s chief executive officer Mark Doran, the two parties said the terms of the new agreement were confidential but it would deliver better healthcare outcomes and affordability.

Calvary Health Care runs 15 public and private hospitals across South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-30/victoria-to-guarantee-minimum-nurse-to-patient-staffing-ratios/6735558

The Victorian Government will introduce legislation to guarantee a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio as set out in current enterprise agreements.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the bill would take the staffing issue off the bargaining table for future industrial agreements.

There is no one figure for all public hospitals, as the minimum ratio depends on the type of care given and the time of day.

“Nurse patient ratios are really important for patient safety,” Ms Hennessy said.

“It goes to the quality and capacity of care that Victorian patients get.

“Nurse patient ratios are important because the greater the care and focus nurses are able to give to our patients, we know the better clinical outcomes that they have.”

Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement with Ms Hennessy while meeting with nurses at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The legislation will also provide “flexibility” to reconfigure nurse and midwife staffing and roster arrangements “to ensure the best utilisation of available nurses and midwives to maintain high quality care”.

The agreement covers certain wards in Victorian public health services, public hospitals, and some residential care units.

The new ratios will not apply to private and not-for-profit hospitals, residential aged care facilities and public mental health services not covered by the Public Sector Enterprise Agreement.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has raised concerns about the cost of implementing the policy.

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