February 22, 2024

Queensland Health ‘digital passports’ to help maternity staff mobility, shortage

Queensland Health has introduced new initiatives to ensure pregnant women across the state can access quality maternity care anytime, anywhere.

WHAT IS IT

The health system has announced five new initiatives to promote maternity services in rural and remote areas, including using the digital passport system to help with staff mobility between hospitals and the shortage of additional staff.

It will also fund the advanced midwifery training of 20 GPs in regional, rural and remote areas, as well as the training of doctors, nurses and midwives in care and collaboration focused on best women’s practice; review policies for positions to maximize incentive options for the regional maternity workforce; and promoting First Nations models of midwifery care services across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Hospital and Health Services and Community Governing Organisations.

THE BIG CONTEXT

Maternity services in Queensland, just like the rest of Australia, are facing a staffing crisis. The situation, exacerbated by the recent global pandemic and an aging workforce, appeared to be worse in rural and regional areas, where many services were available. reported go on birth bypass or be closed.

Following stakeholder feedback from the Ministry’s Maternity Roundtable last month, Queensland Health has been able to come up with new initiatives to promote maternity services in underserved communities.

One of the initiatives, the use of digital passports, will give the “flexibility to fill staff shortages in other regions and keep maternity and other health services running,” according to the Australian Medical Association Queensland, which recommended this solution for the existing medical workforce.

“These initial initiatives are vital and are part of a much wider piece of work we are delivering to ensure women across Queensland can access safe maternity services when and where they need them,” said Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman.

The initiatives are also part of the Queensland government’s current A$42 million ($29 million) investment to boost rural and remote maternity services.

Meanwhile, the use of digital passports to support staff mobility across the state is one of the measures included in HEALTHQ32, Queensland’s 10-year vision for healthcare.

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