Long running dispute comes to an end

AFTER a bitter nine-month dispute, the State Government and the Australian Nursing Federation have come to an agreement.

The ANF announced the agreement between Victorian Hospitals’ Industrial Association and government at an “emotional” meeting in front of thousands of nurses at Festival Hall on Friday.

The new agreement includes pay increases from 14 to 21 per cent over four years, no health assistants or split shifts, maintaining nurse-to-patient ratios and a development allowance.

Gippsland registered nurse Bernadette O’Hehir attended the meeting and said it was a relief for nurses to finally come to an agreement.

“It is a really good outcome because we have maintained the patient ratios without health assistants being a part of that,” Ms O’Hehir said.

“The pay rate wasn’t as much as we hoped for, but other things have balanced that out, like increased professional development.”

ANF secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said the announcement was a “bitter sweet victory for nurses and midwives”.

As part of the new agreement, “patients admitted to rehabilitation wards will now benefit from an improved nurse-patient ratio from one to seven on the evening shifts to one to five in recognition of the enormity of nurses’ workloads in this speciality,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

“ANF has also secured annual funding to work towards a one to three ratio in day oncology units.”

ANF will return to Fair Work Australia on Wednesday to draft the enterprise bargaining agreement, which will then go to members for a vote.

For details on the agreement visit