MS PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (10:01:07): I am very pleased to rise to speak to the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2018. It has been some time in coming, and certainly we nearly got there last year and I felt terrible that we did not get there. However, I would concur with Ms Crozier in her contribution that this bill is actually a better bill. Can I say at the outset that I heart nurses and midwives. I wonder if Hansard could put an emoji in for that? This bill, as we all know, enshrines in legislation the minimum number of qualified nurses or midwives per shift to ensure the quality of care for every patient in the Victorian public health system. It is a good law, it is practical and it is what we would call no-brainer legislation. It is constructive, it is positive, it is reasonable and it is evidence based, and it adds to the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Act 2015 that we passed in the previous term. We know, and the evidence tells us, that the number of patients that a nurse or midwife is allocated on any given shift is in direct correlation to the patients’ wellbeing and mortality and the class of care that those patients are provided—it just makes sense. When we see an increasingly ageing population, those ratios are going to become more and more important and pertinent to the future care of our community. We know that when there is not a proper ratio people die, so this is as serious as that. This is absolutely about saving lives. We know that being able to monitor patients more carefully—and listening to Ms Crozier talking about midwives and what can go wrong straight after birth, and what can go wrong very, very quickly, certainly reaffirms why we need to ensure that the patient ratio is right. This legislation will apply to acute wards, aged care, emergency departments, labour wards, postnatal wards, neonatal intensive care units, high-dependency units, coronary care units, special care nurseries and palliative care. Palliative care is something that I would like to comment a little bit on. Having had the great privilege of being on the end-of-life choices inquiry and hearing from the remarkable palliative care nurses and seeing the absolute passion that they have for their work and the energy that they put into that, we certainly need more nurses and certainly in aged care. Now that we are having the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety we will find that some of that lack of nursing has caused some of the most awful problems that we have seen in some of our aged-care facilities. So I am very pleased to see that Victoria is doing this. In fact Victoria was the first state in the world to enact nurse-to-patient ratios nearly 20 years ago. This has been led by a very passionate group of nurses, and I feel very privileged to have met with them a number of times. They are passionate/bossy. I think they can be both, but I certainly would not want to cross some of those nurses who have very, very strongly argued for this legislation—and not for themselves but for the people, including our families, that they care for in some of the most traumatic and often tragic times of their lives and some of the best times of their lives, such as during the birth of a new child. I was also really pleased to see the Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Fund being added to this legislation. I think that is very positive, looking at the speed at which technology is changing, particularly in our healthcare system. Also as I mentioned, with the ageing population, being able to continue to develop best practices for nurses is really important. I think this is sensible, productive legislation. I hope we see more of it. I certainly intend to help by putting more sensible legislation on the table, like the Spent Convictions Bill 2019. I hope this is the first of many times that this house will agree on laws that further add to the safety, security and happiness of our fellow Victorians. I commend the bill to the house.