Fuelled by a “disgruntled minority”, Victorian health workers are increasingly losing faith in Premier Daniel Andrews’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A survey of more than 300 Victorian frontline healthcare workers shows there has been a substantial drop in support for the state leader since the second wave hit.
Mr Andrews’ satisfaction rating among respondents has plummeted by almost a third, down from 86 per cent in April to 58 per cent in late August.
TKW research general manager Mandy Admiraal put changing sentiment down to the emergence of a “disgruntled minority” of surgeons and allied health practitioners concerned about lost income.
“The second outbreak has been a massive blow to their practices, just as they thought things were returning to normal,” she said on Friday.
That group has been attributed for between 21 to 31 per cent of respondents feeling Mr Andrews and health officials should resign over the second wave and that Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions do more harm than good.
Three out of four healthcare professionals surveyed said they thought poor management of hotel quarantine was the main driver of Victoria’s second wave.
The TKW study came came despite a survey finding widespread backing for Mr Andrews among the general Victorian community. A Roy Morgan poll of 2325 Victorians, conducted earlier this week, found 70 per cent supported Mr Andrews’ work as Premier.
In the TKW study, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos was even less popular among the workers she represents, with just 28 per cent satisfied with her performance.
Ms Mikakos was removed from some quarantine and isolation responsibilities in August and replaced by Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.
Unlike the state’s political leaders, health workers hadn’t soured on Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton, who had a 74 per cent approval rating.
More than half of respondents also thought the mishandling of Victorian aged care facilities contributed to the second wave, and 93 per cent said the sector needed major reform.
“Healthcare workers, especially in aged care facilities, should be trained properly with infection control,” a female allied health worker in Melbourne said.
“Protocols regarding infection control should be regulated and mandated by the state and federal government because clearly there’s been a lapse in care, hence the rapid transmission within the residents.”
Despite the federal government regulating private aged care, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a marginally higher satisfaction rating (59 per cent) than the Victorian premier.
Even before Mr Andrews unveiled his roadmap to “COVID normal”, 81 per cent of surveyed health staff were in favour of retaining Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions.
But the vast majority (84 per cent) believe the Premier needs to overhaul Victoria’s testing and contact tracing regime, which came under fire from Mr Morrison this week.
“I know of one case where the DHHS contacted the family two weeks after possible exposure,” a female pharmacist in regional Victoria wrote.
“That’s just NOT good enough – especially to reduce the spread!”