Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (18:15): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, Mr Foley—and congratulations on his new appointment. The action I seek from the minister is to amend the maternal and child health program standards to remove the requirement for nurses—this is, child health nurses and adolescent health nurses—to be midwives. While I can understand the good intentions, it is creating real barriers for perfectly capable nurses fulfilling those roles that they are more than capable of completing. One nurse who wrote to me said this rationale is completely flawed. Yes, midwives will deal with newborns and there is a potential overlap, but the skills and training are far too removed to be of significant benefit. This is a nurse who has a postgraduate certificate in child and adolescent health care, yet she cannot be a child and adolescent health nurse because she is not a midwife.
Every other jurisdiction has changed this, so Victoria is on its own in insisting that child and adolescent health nurses also be midwives. I know the previous health minister did acknowledge this to say that these nurses could retrain as midwives, but given that we are talking about children and adolescents, I think it would make more sense for Victoria to come into line with the rest of Australia. When you look at the green book on this matter, it really just talks about childhood and adolescent health. The green book is very much like Western Australia’s purple book, which you can see online—again, all of the same sorts of information and requirements for those child and adolescent health nurses—but in Victoria for some strange reason they must also be qualified midwives. So the action that I am seeking is for the health minister to, as I say, amend the maternal and child health program standards to remove the requirement for nurses to be qualified midwives to practise as child and adolescent health nurses in Victoria.