Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (21:24): (1546) My adjournment matter is around pandemic stress leave, and it is directed to the Premier. The press conference that the Premier held on Sunday, 3 October, put nurses front and centre. Their stories were harrowing, and it sent a strong message about getting vaccinated.
Our nurses, our allied health and every healthcare professional, as we know and as we have been speaking about for much of today, are doing it really tough. I had a call from a nurse who had just finished a double shift, had gone home at 3.00 am and was called back to fill another shift. These teams are so stretched. The nurses are covering far more patients than they should be. Those in allied health are being asked to attend situations far beyond their training. It is scary and it is troubling. They have been going through it now for 18 months, and they are stressed beyond belief. They are at their wits’ end, and they know it is going to get worse before it gets better.
These workers certainly need to be paid more, but actually what they need is a break. It is time for us to show that and give them that break. We must compensate our healthcare workers, but more importantly and more importantly almost than money, they actually just need a break. So the action that I am seeking is for the government to create two-week pandemic stress leave for all healthcare workers. It might be many months before they are able to take that leave, but it is a much-needed holiday, and it should not have to come out of their annual leave. We are seeing now nurses and other healthcare workers taking sick leave so that they can just get a break because they have had to do so many double shifts, so much extra time. So to the Premier, the action that I seek is that he directs his department to create a policy of pandemic stress leave for those on our front line.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region