Health workers bonus payment not nearly enough

Tasmanian Labor

The Rockliff government’s offer of a $2,000
bonus payment to health workers is nowhere near enough to ease the load on
exhausted health workers and stop them from leaving the profession.

While the bonus payment appears on the face of
it to be a good first step, significant concerns remain about the conditions
the Liberal government has tied to it, after they had to be dragged kicking and
screaming to provide anything at all, then offering $1,000 less than the bonus
provided to health workers in Victoria and NSW.

Unions are concerned that part-time health
workers will miss out on the bonus payment, and that the $2,000 is contingent
on the government doing away with escalation bonus payments and health care
workers ceasing strike action.

Not only that, but this government’s stubborn
refusal to budge on its 2.5 per cent wages policy will do nothing to address
chronic staff shortages or convince health workers on the brink to stay in the
profession.

Industrial action continues across the state
nurses at the North West Regional Hospital are walking off the job today and
other public sector workers including paramedics are also planning industrial
action.

While the Premier and part-time Health Minister
Jeremy Rockliff struggles to get the basics right across virtually the entire
public service, Tasmania’s health system remains in crisis, with huge numbers
of vacant nursing positions, and massive waiting lists for elective surgery and
specialist appointments.

As an ED nurse at the Royal Hobart Hospital who
wrote to Mr Rockliff said, “our department is stretched so beyond our
limitations that it is quite frankly a dangerous and terrifying place to work”.

Mr Rockliff needs to do much more to recruit and retain staff – and our stressed and overworked health workers deserve real recognition and tangible action so they can stay in Tasmania rather than moving interstate to seek better pay and conditions.

Anita Dow MP

Shadow Health Minister

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.