UNION WIN: NSW Health Service Check Register overhauled
After years of persistent peak level representations by the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, along with individual disagreements with public health agencies over inappropriate use of the Service Check Register (‘SCR’), the NSW Ministry of Health has changed the SCR Policy Directive.
The SCR will now be reserved for the most serious of incidents in the workplace as originally intended in 2009 – rather than an act of routine.
Placement on the SCR will now be for serious misconduct (serious sex or violence offence; reportable (ie child-related) conduct, Professional misconduct, serious criminal offence, conduct by staff that presents a serious risk to safety) AND when the staff member as a result is suspended / employment dispensed with / clinical privileges amended / removed etc.
An important companion outcome is that it requires NSW Health organisations to review their existing SCR records against the new criteria and remove any records that no longer meet the (new) criteria. In discussions with the Ministry, it is likely this review will be done in two stages and completed by the end of this year.
The fight for amendments to the policy directive began in 2013, when changes to the wording of the directive meant most alleged misconduct resulted in an entry being made into the SCR and any administrative action taken, no matter how benign, also triggered an SCR entry.
As a result of these amendments, placement on the SCR became a disciplinary action in itself. The Association represented members who were wrongfully placed on the register and escalated matters where it was deemed that the placement was inappropriate.
The recently updated directive ensures a more measured use of the register, saving nurses and midwives from being placed on the SCR for small or unsubstantiated matters.
The overhaul is an enormous win for NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association members, particularly those who have suffered through the inappropriate use of the SCR.
The new policy directive (PD2021_017) came into effect on the 24th of June, 2021.
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