The Australian College of Nursing urges the Australian and State governments to prioritise nurse safety in light of World Patient Safety Day and rising COVID-19 deaths among nurses globally.
“The safety of Australian nurses is paramount in keeping patients safe,” Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said. “Our nurses continue to play a vital role in the fight against COVID-19, and it’s essential their hard work and dedication is recognised.”
“The link between health worker and patient safety has never been clearer. We need urgent and sustainable investment by all stakeholders to make sure nurses and their patients are protected.”
Today marks the World Health Organization’s World Patient Safety Day which this year focuses on health workforce safety.
This week the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has launched its COVID-19 report revealing the continuing and catastrophic increase in the number of deaths and infection rates of nurses due to COVID-19. This is at a time where more than 17% of COVID-19 positive cases in Victoria have been health professionals.
ICN calls on governments to address their collective failure to prioritise health workers across the board, including lack of data collection on infection rates and inadequate PPE, particularly in care homes, as well as inadequate testing and IPC training, plus extensive reports of violence and discrimination against nurses, and a lack of mental health support.
The report finds that more than 1000 nurses have died in 44 countries where data was available, with health worker infection rates on average around 10% of total infections globally. This suggests with almost 30 million people infected with the virus, as many as three million may be health workers. The survey also reveals less than half of countries surveyed classify COVID-19 as an occupational disease, which has serious implications for compensation from illness to death.
Read the complete ICN findings and recommendations here.
For interviews contact Dr Carolyn Stapleton FACN 0448 017 194