COVID-19; the latest SA information

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25 March 2020

ANMF (SA Branch) discussed with SA Health the following matters on 24 March 2020:

Accessibility and information regarding PPE
Controlling the use of masks and protective equipment is a major consideration in the face of a global shortage in availability. Local provision and international access are being pursued.

Dispensing machines for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) will be launched in the coming period to better control distribution.

System managers are asking staff not to store PPE away from formal storage and distribution and to use only the level of protective equipment designated for the relevant practice area.

We made clear that staff need assurance that PPE will continue to be available if we are to avoid such actions by workers.

Further action to be updated later this week.

Members are urged to raise any concerns regarding the type or availability of PPE with their manager in the first instance and escalate those concerns if not satisfied with the response locally to our offices.

We are also discussing with LHNs and the department increased provision of uniforms and their use during the period of peak demand. NALHN have already acted to increase the number of uniforms provided to staff to assist ensuring that concerns about risk can be addressed.

Staffing of health services
We have sought urgent advice as to the numbers and type of staff that will be required to staff the additional capacity that has been created through acquisition of beds at Wakefield, College Grove and the Repat which are planned to deal with the surge in capacity expected over the coming period.

SA Health have supported the position that any use of students (in AIN type roles) should be kept within the limits in our existing staffing agreement (i.e. they are within the 30% of workforce comprised of ENs and AINs/GNPs).  National discussions continue with the Commonwealth on this issue.

We have made clear that there is anxiety about the role, supervision, onboarding and safety associated with more widespread use of students in the health workforce.

Further discussions will be held in the days ahead regarding staffing principles that will apply during times of surging demand and/or staffing limitations.

Additional staff including retired and out-of-workforce nurses and midwives
SA Health has launched recruitment to a central casual workforce pool that can be used to supply staff during the pandemic.

Both those members who are available to work (part time or full time) to assist in meeting workforce requirements overall are urged to visit the SA Health site and register your interest. The links are:
The NMBA is working to establish systems to fast-track re-registrations in the current environment and we will advise further as those mechanisms are clear. For more information visit the NMBA website.

Casual staff access to special leave

ANMF (SA Branch) has written to the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment and also raised with SA Health the need to provide leave to casual staff affected by COVID-19, particularly in the context of an increase in those workers through the current recruitment cycles.

The ANMF (SA Branch) has launched an online petition calling for casual nurses, midwives and care workers to be provided with pro-rata access to the 15-days special leave granted to permanent employees a week ago. 

Sign the Petition

Workforce development strategies

The department is working on a range of strategies to provide professional development/education to nurses in areas of critical care practice in particular. Details will be provided as they are finalised.

ANMF (SA Branch) CPD for members on COVID-19 is now available in the online service free of charge to members.