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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Australian College of Nursing calls for urgent tax-free COVID payment to NSW nurses

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Following last week’s request by the NSW Government for JobSaver-style support from the Federal Government, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) wants some of this funding to go urgently to nurses in NSW. 

“Nurses are the largest registered health profession in the country, and there are over 73,000 nurses and midwives in NSW,” ACN CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward, said.

“As the national voice for the nursing profession, we hear from our members day and night about how stressed and exhausted they are.

“Their mental health is dire and many are talking to me about their plans to leave the profession.”

Ward said the ACN’s NSW members have been talking to them about the proposed Greens proposal for Nurse Keeper, which would see a payment for nurses and midwives for their work on COVID. 

“I’ve written to the NSW Premier today to confirm our support for that proposal,” she said.

“I want to see that payment for nurses go to them without being taxed.

“We are now talking about a gift which recognises what they’ve endured since early 2020, and as a means of retention.

“Of course, we ultimately would like to see every nurse in Australia receive this.” 

Ward said nurses are the backbone of the COVID frontline, they make up the majority of frontline healthcare workers and they’re covered in PPE on 12-hour back-to-back shifts, and can’t even take a drink of water without having to remove their PPE each time. 

Many, she said, are working double-shifts and experiencing physical and verbal abuse.

“It’s time the Government recognised what the nurses have endured, and what we all now know is going to continue for the foreseeable future in this pandemic,” Ward said.

“It’s time the Government thanked nurses properly.”

The recognition, Ward said, should be to all nurses in hospitals, aged care, primary care and mental health across all communities in NSW.

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