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Hospital Sitters

September 12, 2019

Ms ARMITAGE question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE
COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT

Will the honourable Leader please advise -

With regard to department-employed sitters currently working in the public hospital system -

(1) How many sitters are employed full-time equivalent at the Launceston General Hospital, Royal Hobart Hospital and North West Regional Hospital?

(2) What is the minimum and/or preferred level of skill or training that an employed sitter is required to possess for these positions?

(3) How many hours across the three major hospitals did the sitters work in the last financial year?

(4) What was the total cost of employing and retaining these sitters in the last financial year?

ANSWER

Mr President, I thank the member for Launceston for her question. I am pleased to be able to provide the answers for her today -

(1) A number of different occupational groups are utilised in the sitter role, making it difficult to state the employed FTEs for the role of sitter. Assistants in nursing are employed predominantly to undertake the role of patient sitters. In the south, approximately 38 FTE assistants are employed in nursing. In the north, assistants in nursing are employed on a casual basis.

(2) Each patient is clinically assessed to determine the supervision required to ensure patient safety. A patient who requires clinical intervention maybe allocated an enrolled or registered nurse who is able to provide the full scope of care required by the patient. A patient who just requires observation to maintain safety may be allocated an orderly or a security guard. Their role is to raise the alarm if a patient has a safety risk, which will activate a response from nursing staff.

(3) Assistants in nursing are the preferred patient sitters as they have the scope to provide some nursing interventions. Assistants in nursing must have the following qualifications:

a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance - HLT32507 (acute care) a Bachelor of Nursing student who has completed a second-year clinical practice placement, or
a Diploma of Nursing student who has completed their first clinical practice placement.

(4) I shall read out to members the hours worked by patient sitters in 2018-19 by region and then by hours. In the north, 17 087 hours; in the south, 126 181 hours; in the North West Regional Hospital, 22 096 hours; and at the Mersey Community Hospital, 6290 hours. The total was 171 654
hours.

(5) The total cost for the patient sitters in 2018-19: inn the north, the cost was $764 040; in the south, $4.41 million; at the North West Regional Hospital, the cost was $1.02 million; and at the Mersey Community Hospital, the cost was $263 126. The total came to $6.46 million.

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