We know that COVID remains a very real pandemic and a very real threat to public health. We also know your workloads continue to be excessive.
Victoria’s healthcare system remains at breaking point because of the impact COVID-19 and a failure of governments to ensure greater public awareness around staying safe while it remains a very real public health threat.
The Union has long been advocating the need to significantly increase our disciplines’ workforces well before COVID-19 hit the world. And now Victoria’s healthcare workforce is dealing with excessive workloads and understaffing, with very real concerns additional large surges in COVID-19 cases could finally see our public healthcare system unravel in Victoria. Workloads and understaffing have been key issues the Union advocates and lobbies around and has been for twenty plus years.
Workloads and understaffing pressures are not just limited to one part of the Health Sector, it’s severely impacting all aspects of the Health Sector, whether Public, Community or Private.
It’s impacting all Health Workers across our disciplines, and beyond our disciplines we know it’s impacting the Aged Care Sector and Disability Care and Support.
With such a confluence of issues, there will be a strong temptation to work through meal and rest breaks or come in early and stay after the shift ends. Members may even be tempted to take up additional shifts.
We know how committed and dedicated you are to delivering your very best each shift for patients, but it’s equally important to remember that regularly working extra hours is a very significant cause of workload stress and injury.
The Union’s concern is not just that members won’t be remunerated for your commitment and dedication, it also puts your mental and physical health and well-being at risk.
We know there is a lot of stress and anxiety with the enormous workloads while dealing with an on-going pandemic, which is now largely ignored by decision makers and the media. Working under such conditions has a very real impact on your physical and mental health and well-being.
We’re not saying to not give your best effort to care for patients, but we are saying to put your health first to be able to properly care for patients.
If you’re stressed with workloads or fatigued from working additional unpaid time, it has a direct impact on your ability to perform your work to your best ability. These are very real occupational health and safety issues.
It’s not just about the physical environment you work in but also the nature of the work you do, the huge workloads you have and the level of understaffing across the entire healthcare system.
It’s disappointing state and federal governments, including the media, seem keen to ignore that there is still a global pandemic unfolding and that there remain very significant public health risks.
What can you do right now to ease a little of the stress?
In the first instance, it is up to you to ensure you’re taking your meal and rest breaks; and making sure that you leave on time when your shift ends and not sneaking in early to “check emails”.
If you’re experiencing excessive workloads or if there are on-going vacancies in your work group or positions not being backfilled, it is essential you contact us to report these issues.
It is your right to work in a safe environment, both physically and mentally safe.
I strongly urge members to make sure you are protecting yourself, your loved ones and patients from infection and spread.