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Government Must Ensure Safe Staffing Levels for Nurses

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 20 January 2022

Tags: Health, Health Crisis, COVID-19

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson 

The Gutwein Government failed to listen to nurses and midwives before opening the borders, and now staff are burnt out and health services for our most vulnerable are stalling. The Premier assured us he has financial flex in his budget, and he should use it to ensure safe staffing levels in the health system, and to make a COVID allowance available.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Greens* raised concerns about the high risk of health staff being overwhelmed by a COVID surge, months before the border reopening. The government’s assurances that planning was in hand are shown to be dishonest, and the unfolding real-life consequences for both staff and vulnerable people are frightening.

Hundreds of healthcare workers have been unable to work after testing COVID-positive, which is placing incredible strain on the remainder of the health workforce.

Nurses and midwives have been asked to cancel leave, had to fill roles they never signed up for, made lifestyle changes to try and avoid COVID infection, and are spending hours on end working in very difficult conditions – in full PPE no less.

Given the sacrifices being made by those on the frontline, you’d think the Gutwein government could at least ensure safe staffing levels in the health system - and pay health workers a COVID allowance in recognition of how much they are doing to keep our health system functional.

Anything less than this would be a slap in the face by the Premier to the staff who work every day to a crisis made worse by his failure to listen to their concerns.