Hospital pledged 150 new nurses

The Joan Kirner Women and Children's Hospital will open in May. Pic Marco De Luca

By Tate Papworth

The State government has pledged more than 150 new nurses and midwives for the soon-to-be-opened Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos toured the hospital with nurses and midwives last week for a preview of the building, which will be opened in May.

The $200 million hospital will include a critical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – the first of its kind in the western suburbs- for the most critically ill babies.

It will also include a total of 237 beds in new and refurbished accommodation, 20 maternity delivery rooms, 39 special care nursery cots, four theatres and additional clinics.

Mr Andrews said the hospital will mean more families in the west can access world-class paediatric and maternity services closer to home.

Ms Mikakos added that the balance of nurses to patients was critically important to delivering high care.

“There’s no use building world-class hospitals if our nurses and midwives don’t have the resources they need to do what they do best. That’s why we’ve given them the fair patient ratios that they deserve,” she said.

The government recently passed legislation which increases nurse to patient ratios, which will deliver 600 new nurses and midwives in public hospitals.

The government said the new ratios mean the number of nurses and midwives will be rounded up – instead of down – removing a loophole that meant staff often had to carry a workload of up to 50 per cent higher than the prescribed ratio.

Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman welcomed the news.

“This will be a game changer for our community and for local families. Thousands of mums will be able to have their baby and ensure they get the treatment and care they need.”

The opening of the new hospital is also set to alleviate a great deal of pressure from the Sunshine Hospital’s maternity department, which was pushed to its limits last year.

The hospital delivered nearly 5800 babies last yea. There were multiple months when 500 babies were born – records for the hospital.

The new facility will have the capacity to birth 7020 babies a year – welcome news for a hospital forecast to deliver 7000 babies a year by 2026.