News State Victoria News One-off $3000 payment for Vic health staff

One-off $3000 payment for Vic health staff

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Victorian nurses, midwives, doctors and paramedics will be handed a one-off $3000 payment to attract and retain them in the state’s strained health system.

All staff working in public hospitals and ambulance services will be offered the cash and free meals as the sector braces for a busy winter plagued by more COVID-19 and flu cases.

To be eligible, workers must be employed the state’s public health service by July 1 and still be employed on September 30.

The first payment will be made on August 15 and the second at the end of September, as part of the $353 million package from the Victorian government.

“This is all about encouraging people to take up shifts if they can, to go from being part-time to maybe working some further hours,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s also about bringing people back into the system.

“It’s also a fundamental acknowledgement of the extreme pressure, the really significant challenge that there is in our health system at the moment.”

Thousands of staff in both clinical and non-clinical roles will be provided the payment, including those working in cleaning, food services and laundry services.

Royal Melbourne Hospital nurse unit manager Susan Harding said healthcare workers endured “dark days” over the COVID-19 pandemic and the cash was recognition of their hard work and stress.

“Every staff member that we work with … they go home to a family,” she said.

“It was really confronting hoping we were making good decisions to get them home safely at the end of the day while we were watching mass graves being dug overseas.”

Workers in Victoria’s private health system won’t get the payment.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, Victorian branch secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, said the union would write to private acute care providers to push for a separate payment for those workers.

“It’s time that the private acute care employers stepped up and recognised their amazing staff in the way that the state government has done,” she said.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the $3000 payment was a good move and well deserved.

“Now let’s give health workers and all Victorians the health system they deserve – not one underfunded and mismanaged,” he tweeted.

A similar one-off payment was announced for paramedics, midwives, cleaners and all other permanent NSW health service staff on Monday, and Mr Andrews said the state governments had been in discussions.

The Australian College of Nursing has called for tax-free COVID-19 bonus payments for nurses across the country.