$500 million for health, but where will the staff come from?

“The govt. has announced a $500 million increase in health spending to combat the Corona virus. Part of this money is earmarked for increasing the number of ICU beds. The govt. has stated that operating theatres can be turned into ICU spaces and to a degree this is correct. What the govt. has forgotten, or more specifically not even thought about, is where the extra specialist nurses are to come from. You see not just any nurse can be an ICU nurse. I’m a theatre nurse. I can make a theatre anaesthetic machine work. An anaesthetic machine is what the govt. is saying can be used to turn an operating theatre into an ICU. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I know how to use and adjust an anaesthetic machine and that I work in an operating theatre, that doesn’t make me an ICU nurse. ICU nurses don’t grow on trees. It takes a long time to train them and significant investment. Unfortunately, we have a nationwide shortage of ICU nurses as is true of other specialist nurses. Had this govt. listened to nurses in 2018 this situation might have been improving. Unfortunately they decided to apply a bandaid. We will get through this, to an extent by the skin of our teeth. The goodwill, dedication and determination of all healthcare workers will be tested in this crisis, but we will rise to it. Some of those workers may lose their lives as they work to save others as they have around the world. This needs to be remembered, these healthcare workers celebrated for their sacrifice. But more importantly, the govt. needs to invest in the future of nursing so that those who left to better wages and conditions in Australia and other places return and that more of our young people choose the profession.” – anonymous.

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