Cabrini AHPs Need Your Help!
VAHPA Members at Cabrini Health have been engaged in bargaining since May 2022 seeking to improve pay and conditions. A successful Protected Ballot Order at the Fair Work Commission resulted in a somewhat improved offer. However, in addition to fairly average pay increases, there are still some significant issues including:
- The lack of the fifth week of Annual Leave which is becoming increasingly common across Allied Health.
- A disparity between the pay rates for Grade 1 & 2 in different professions – a Grade 1 or 2 Medical Imaging Technologist for instance is paid less than a Physiotherapist in the same grades.
- Higher Duties not being paid until multiple days are worked, meaning that AHPs are often regularly doing work at a higher classification without being paid for it.
VAHPA Members commenced industrial action on Tuesday 6 December with a lunchtime stoppage. Further actions have been notified in the hope that they would be rendered unnecessary by our bargaining meeting yesterday. Unfortunately this was not the case.
Cabrini AHPs need your help!!
If you’re available at any of the following times, please show your support and join us:
- Thursday 15 December, 12:30-1:30 Cabrini Brighton, 243 New St
- Monday 19 December, 12:30-1:30 Cabrini Malvern, 181 Wattletree Rd
- Tuesday 20 December, 12:30-1:30 Cabrini Hopetoun, 2 Hopetoun St, Elsternwick
Your support will mean a lot to your fellow VAHPA Members and send a strong message to Cabrini management.
Following our recent update about Aurora protected industrial action, we’re pleased to bring you the results of the employer ballot, which closed on Wednesday 7 December.
The participation rate was high with 82% of Allied Health Professionals voting. The NO vote for this offer was 59.52%. The company are now considering their position and the next steps. Our protected ballot order remains in place so further action may be pending. Congratulations to VAHPA & MSAV Members at Aurora Brunswick Private and South Eastern Private on standing up for what you’re worth! And an especially big CONGRATS to our four fantastic VAHPA Delegates.
Duty of Candour – Know What This Means for You
Important state legislation (Health Legislation Amendment (Quality and Safety) Act 2022) has recently come into force.
If a patient suffers a serious adverse outcome in a public, denominational or private hospital/heath service, multi-purpose service, day procedure centre, ambulance or patient transport service or in the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (collectively – “Health Services”), there is now a requirement for this to be acknowledged directly with the patient.
As of 30 November 2022, Health Services have a Statutory Duty of Candour (SDC) when a patient has suffered a serious adverse patient safety event (SAPSE) while receiving health services. This builds on the principles and elements of open disclosure currently used for all cases of harm and near miss.
When a patient has suffered a SAPSE, the health service will be legally required to provide the patient, and/or their next-of-kin (NOK)/carer, with:
- a written account of the facts regarding the SAPSE;
- an apology for the harm suffered by the patient;
- a description of the health service’s response to the event; and
- the steps that the health service entity has taken to prevent re-occurrence of the event.
They will also be required to comply with any timelines and requirements set out in the Victorian Duty of Candour Guidelines (download document here). If the event is classified as a sentinel event, they must also comply with any relevant timelines within the Victorian sentinel event guide (note that Healthcare Acquired Infections of COVID-19 are not required to be recorded as sentinel events, even when that COVID infection results in death, but they need to be reported through the COVID-19 reporting system).
There will be situations where the patient and/or their NOK/carer can opt out of receiving the Duty of Candour.
Full details are available here: https://www.safercare.vic.gov.au/support-training/adverse-event-review-and-response/duty-of-candour
VAHPA has contacted our Professional Indemnity insurer to check for any implications regarding Professional Indemnity Insurance if your employer requires you to provide a statement and/or apology under their SDC. The two suggestions are general in nature:
- Keep it simple and just provide the necessary details
- Keep to the requirements – avoid any opinion, any admission of fault, or any subjective statements; you should objectively acknowledge and apologise as required
It is likely that your Health Service will provide a response on behalf of any staff who were involved in the care of a patient that led to the outcome requiring the SDC. The legislated SDC places obligations on the Health Service, rather than individual healthcare workers so there may be minimal, if any, direct personal impact on most staff. It is not 100% clear where the threshold sits for triggering the need for an SDC.
It is important, however, that you are aware of the requirements and Safer Care Victoria has recommended that Health Service employers should:
- Understand the reforms within the Health Legislation Amendment (Quality and Safety) Act 2022;
- Ensure their staff understand the reforms and what their responsibilities might be;
- Ensure their staff are aware how to access training, and completing the modules necessary to them; and,
- Update and create internal policies and procedures in relation to the reforms.
If you have concerns about a request or direction to participate in a SDC process, please contact VAHPA for urgent advice and/or support. Please also remember to contact VAHPA if you are involved in any incident at work that may need to be reported to our Professional Indemnity insurer.
COVID Settings Change
With the escalating Covid wave leading to increased pressure on the health system, through rapidly rising hospitalisations and furloughing rates, the State Government has raised the Covid Health System Response to Stage 3. All Victorian health services will have received the following message and should have implemented any necessary changes.
Given the increasing demand on the Victorian public health system, the Health System Response will be escalated to Stage 3, effective Saturday 3 December 2022.
This is a reflection of both high numbers of people with COVID in hospital, particularly across our metropolitan health services, as well as ongoing furlough challenges at all sites leading into the holiday period.
This will enable the enhanced application of levers to best utilise resources, facilitate load balancing and generate capacity in order to relieve system pressures.
Implementation of Stage 3 enables:
- The use of extended team models, based on local need and in consultation with healthcare worker unions
- Increased telehealth utilisation (including inpatient settings), to support workforce efficiencies.
- The Health Service Response Centre (HSRC) scaled model to be stood up, which includes the recommencement of daily operational meetings with AV and metropolitan/regional health service representatives from Monday 5 December 2022.
- Further utilisation of private hospital capacity for public patients
Downloaded Health System Response Levers here
Download FAQs here. These changes raise the possibility of redeployments to maintain services during workforce shortages. Nearly 3 years into the pandemic, VAHPA has made it clear to the government that in the absence of any Covid mitigations in the broader community to ameliorate the pressure on the health system, AHPs should not be bearing the brunt of further workplace disruption. If you are required to redeploy, you must be consulted first, a risk assessment performed, and appropriate induction provided.
The current furloughing numbers are alarmingly high and rising. The government believes these healthcare worker infections are occurring in the community rather than at work, but there are concurrent high rates of nosocomial infections occurring among patients, raising concerns about Covid spreading in the workplace. If you see practices or the management of S/Covid patients that you feel are not safe, such as inappropriate cohorting, please raise this with your HSR and VAHPA. There is still a 7-day isolation requirement if you test positive and for those in the public sector, there is still pandemic leave. If you do test positive, consider lodging a WorkCover claim. The possibility of delayed sequalae with Covid means a short and/or mild episode could still result in lost work time beyond the 7-day period.
The health system is under enormous pressure, and we thank you on behalf of the Victorian community for your continuing efforts to provide care. If you need assistance, please contact VAHPA.
HACSU Tasmania Solidarity Callout!
Our Tasmanian comrades have been fighting a long and fairly fierce battle with Southern Cross Care Tasmania who are trying to sack over 170 Enrolled Nurses, Leisure and Lifestyle and Food Services workers across Tasmania through a restructure and redundancies.
This is outrageous behaviour in any setting but in aged care with some of our most vulnerable community members, even more so.
Reminder: Work-Related Violence is Never Okay!
Tell us about your experiences of work-related violence in the healthcare sector.
Work-related violence should never be accepted as just part of the job but not only do healthcare workers experience high levels of violence, bullying, and sexual harassment at work, this is an increasing phenomenon for all frontline employees. Recent studies have indicated that:
- about one in five Australians (19%) have been sexually harassed at work
- globally 62% of healthcare workers experience work-related violence including sexual harassment
- COVID-19 has increased the likelihood that healthcare workers will experience violence at work
We want to gain an accurate understanding of your experiences as a healthcare worker, the support you have received, and the impact of work-related violence on your health and wellbeing.
We again invite you to participate in an online survey being conducted by Monash University about your experiences of health, safety, and work-related violence as a healthcare professional (project ID 34629).
This survey will take about 20-25 minutes to complete. Your responses are completely anonymous and confidential and your participation in this survey is voluntary. As a thank you, participants who complete the survey will be invited at the end to enter a draw to win a gift voucher worth $50.
If you wish to participate in this study, please follow this link to the Explanatory Statement for a detailed description of the study and link to the Healthcare Worker Survey. Sharing your views about health, safety and violence in your workplace is important and participating in this survey will help policy makers and workplaces develop ways to prevent work-related violence in healthcare organisations to improve the working conditions for all healthcare workers. If you have any questions about the survey or experience any problems in accessing the survey please contact VAHPA or email the researchers at firstname.lastname@example.org