In line with today’s call from the Perrottet Government requesting JobSaver-style support from the Commonwealth, the Australian College of Nursing wants some of this funding to go urgently to nurses in NSW.
“Nurses are the largest registered health profession in the country, and there are over 73,000 nurses and midwives in NSW. As the national voice for the nursing profession, we hear from our members day and night about how stressed and exhausted they are. Their mental health is dire and many are talking to me about their plans to leave the profession,” said Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, Chief Executive Officer of the ACN.
“Our NSW members have been talking to us about the proposed Greens proposal for Nurse Keeper which would see a payment for nurses and midwives for their work on COVID. I’ve written to the NSW Premier today to confirm our support for that proposal. I want to see that payment for nurses go to them without being taxed. We are now talking about a gift which recognises what they’ve endured since early 2020, and as a means of retention. Of course, we ultimately would like to see every nurse in Australia receive this.
Nurses are the backbone of the COVID frontline. They make up the majority of frontline healthcare workers. They’re covered in PPE on 12-hour back-to-back shifts without the ability to take a drink of water without having to remove the PPE every time. Many are working double-shifts and experiencing physical and verbal abuse.
It’s time the Government recognised what the nurses have endured, and what we all now know is going to continue for the foreseeable future in this pandemic. They need financial recognition, and that money should not be taxed. It should be a gift as real wage growth remains a focus of concern and necessity for the future of the profession. We would consider this a gesture of recognition and acknowledgement. It’s time the Government thanked nurses properly,” said Kylie.
The Australian College of Nursing is calling on the NSW Premier and Government to provide financial recognition to all nurses in hospitals, aged care, primary care and mental health across all communities in NSW towards ensuring nurses are willing to stay on the COVID frontline.