Members warned of fatigue ahead of COVID outbreak


23 December 2021

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) welcomes the recognition that fatigue is an existing issue for many health care workers, particularly nurses and midwives by SA Health but says with a health system already under duress, the Marshall Government needs to do more to ensure the health and wellbeing of its workforce.

See Message by CEO of SA Health below.

“The system needs to do much more especially as we enter a new challenge posed by the Omricon outbreak in SA following the State Government’s decision to reopen the state borders,” said ANMF (SA Branch) CEO / Secretary Adjunct Assoc Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM.

“Whilst we have welcomed the employment of additional nursing graduates this year we cannot expect them to be fully ready to play the roles necessary in the health care system without additional supports and work readiness training,” said Ms Dabars. 

The union is working to finalise details of staffing plans for ICU’s in the event that the outbreak reaches a point where we are unable to maintain staffing levels consistent with our enterprise agreement. 

“We have worked to eliminate some of the coercive tactics that were being used by some LHNs to ‘encourage’ nurses and midwives to undertake overtime and work additional shifts.”

However, the union is aware that many of the issues that underpin the current levels of work requirement that is leading to fatigue and burnout do not have quick fixes, and that is why the ANMF (SA Branch) have been warning of workforce shortages and calling for planning and action for some years.

“Whilst the department is now listening, it will take some considerable time to produce the number of staff that we need, with the skills and knowledge required and to gain the experience that is being lost from our health system every day.

“Rest assured that we will continue to work collaboratively wherever possible to undertake the repair work necessary. 

“We will also continue to advocate loudly where that is appropriate and necessary,” said Ms Dabars. 

You can tell the Marshall Government to stop the squeeze on SA Health’s system by telling the State Government to take urgent Action for Health here.