Victoria unveils additional wellbeing support for healthcare workers

November 8, 2020

The Minister for Health Martin Foley has released additional funding to support healthcare workers who have tirelessly cared for the Victorian community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Developed in consultation with hospitals, clinicians, peak bodies including the VHA, unions and academics, the $9.8 million package complements additional measures to reduce healthcare worker infections and increase access to support.

The VHA’s Chief Executive Tom Symondson says the funding directly addresses a number of areas of concern raised by members in our consultations with the sector exploring the response to COVID-19.

‘In our consultation with the sector we found many services concerned about the long-term sustainability of the workforce, bracing for the departure of long-term employees due to fatigue and failing to find incentives for new recruits, particularly as the system prepares to address the backlog of post-COVID-19 demand,’ Mr Symondson said.

‘This additional funding for the wellbeing of our healthcare workers is vital to supporting the individuals in the short term and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our sector.’

A new healthcare worker wellbeing centre is being developed by Safer Care Victoria to identify best practice approaches to supporting staff fatigue and stress management, provide advice and training opportunities, and host resources through a web platform.

Funding is also being provided to improve staff rest and recovery areas in health services that enable physical distancing. An additional focus will be on providing access to psychosocial support, peer training models and programs to support wellbeing in health services and registered community health services.

The Better mental health provisional payments pilot will be expanded to include all medical, allied health and health services’ support staff including catering, administration and cleaning staff in addition to nurses and midwives.

The latest funding follows several initiatives including PPE spotters in hospitals, spot checks of healthcare services, COVID Aerosol Hot Spot Analysis Study, fit-testing and data analysis of COVID infections that have occurred in hospitals.

The VHA is continuing to work closely with members to identify key areas of support across the workforce and ensure programs align with the needs of the sector.