Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (1517)
Incorporated pursuant to order of Council of 7 September:
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, Mr Foley, and the action I seek relates to the wellbeing of our healthcare workers.
Our entire healthcare workforce is feeling the stress of working during a pandemic.
The Victorian government acknowledged the pressure the workforce was under when the previous minister announced extra funding for the nursing and midwifery health program and the Victorian doctors health program.
These programs offer free, independent and confidential support services for doctors and nurses who may be experiencing anxiety or depression, or have concerns about alcohol or drugs.
In a media release titled ‘More health support for our frontline heroes’, the government announced an extra $850 000 for these programs.
The issue I raise is that there are more healthcare workers experiencing stress than just doctors and nurses.
Take Grace, for example. She’s an occupational therapist who has been helping on COVID-19 wards during the latest outbreak. She experiences the same stress of the COVID ward, the same fear of infecting her household and the same vicarious trauma of watching people struggling to breathe, but she cannot access the same support for her mental health.
Her mental health should be treated with the same respect as her nursing colleagues. Whether they work in disability, aged care, sonography or occupational therapy, they are all experiencing high levels of stress because of this pandemic. They all deserve free and full support for their mental health.
That is why the action I seek is that the health programs for doctors, nurses and midwives to which I have referred be extended to all Victorian healthcare workers.