6 October 2021

Reform focus for nursing and midwifery forum

Nurses and midwives from across the public, private and community healthcare sectors came together yesterday to have their voices heard and help shape the future of the nursing and midwifery professions in Western Australia.

The Nursing and Midwifery Stakeholder Forum marked the beginning of a broad consultation process to inform the first independent review of nursing and midwifery in Western Australia.

Deputy Premier; Minister for Health, the Hon. Roger Cook, opened the Forum, inviting attendees to share their opinions about how the nursing and midwifery professions could be supported to respond to a changing healthcare environment.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office Dr Robina Redknap then delivered the keynote address, highlighting the fundamental role nurses and midwives play in shaping health care in Western Australia.

“If we are to deliver effective, innovative patient care and contribute meaningfully to healthcare reform, we must be actively involved in its architecture and development. I believe we are at the crossroads of our professions and if we are to better the future then we must disturb the present.”

The forum was guided by themes identified in the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office’s Nursing and Midwifery in Western Australia: A Discussion Paper, launched earlier this year which provides a preliminary overview of the current state of the nursing and midwifery professions in this State.

Vibrant group discussions about topics including the role of cultural change in the workplace, the strengths and gaps in nursing and midwifery that have developed in recent years, and what a ‘scope of practice’ includes, created a lively buzz as nurses and midwives from a range of roles and levels voiced their individual and collective perspectives.

Consumers, carers and health professionals from other disciplines also attended the forum to provide important insights.

Together, nurses and midwives make up the largest professional cohort of registered practitioners in health care. As a workforce, they have enormous capacity to drive and implement reform towards a safe and sustainable health system in Western Australia.

The Sustainable Health Review (SHR), the State’s roadmap for sustainable, high quality, safe, patient centred care for the WA community, emphasises the need to look closely at existing workforce models. It also underlines the importance of workforce culture and respect in driving key elements of sustainability, including staff experience, improved patient safety outcomes and organisational performance.

The ideas, concepts and feedback received through the Nursing and Midwifery Stakeholder Forum will help to identify reform opportunities and will be followed by a broader survey of the State’s nursing and midwifery workforce in January 2022.

Survey results will be delivered in May 2022 to coincide with International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day and will inform an independent review of nursing and midwifery in Western Australia.