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Primary health care is any medical service that is provided outside the four walls of a hospital, including general practice, aged care, schools, community health and other primary health care settings. Primary health care nurses play a critical role in keeping people healthy, providing proactive care and health promotion to keep Australians well.
In the past week, the NSW and Victorian governments have announced bonus or retention payments for hospital nurses.
These payments are recognition for the contribution of hospital nurses to keeping Australia safe during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve this payment. However, the method has also denied Australia’s 91,000 primary health care (PHC) nurses the same recognition.
Not all nurses work in hospitals, but all nurses worked on the front lines.
State and Territory governments expected all health professionals to step up during the pandemic, but then play favourites by only rewarding those in hospitals for their contribution.
In doing this they demotivate the nurses that shouldered much of the burden of the country’s vaccination program (38 million COVID jabs to date) and who have given more than five million flu jabs since 1 March in state vaccination programs. They also undermine those managing COVID patients recovering at home and those providing ongoing care for elderly Australians in state-registered aged care facilities.
Governments must recognise all health care workers for their efforts, including primary health care nurses, for a job well done. And if they can’t do this, they need to make sure they don’t demotivate the other vital nurses on which their COVID response relies.
Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
Professional Indemnity Insurance for nurses. Only $149 for 12 months cover.