Victoria will pay patient-facing public hospital workers up to $60 extra for every shift and will draw on up to 1000 healthcare workers from overseas as coronavirus continues to burden the health system.
Australian healthcare workers wanting to return home, and healthcare workers living overseas, will be eligible for a $2.5 million funding pool to help pay for their relocation and provide support to get them in the workforce as soon as possible, health minister Martin Foley announced on Tuesday.
“The professional groups will cover nurses, doctors, midwives, and a range of allied healthcare professionals and they will be recruited on the basis of the services and support that our hospital system needs,” Foley said.
Healthcare workers need to have an existing employment contract with a Victorian healthcare service and have the active professional registration in place and be ready to travel.
“This is the next logical step in making sure that we turn back on that international pipeline of support for our hospital system that has been on hold for the past 21 months,” Foley said.
A $255 million pool of funding will provide tiered allowances depending up to $60 for every shift patient-facing healthcare workers in hospitals and Ambulance Victoria do over the next four months.
The tier will increase based on a healthcare worker’s exposure to areas working with coronavirus patients.
“As cases increase over the coming weeks if not months, we want to make sure a recognition of that is in place,” Foley said.
“It’s a small part of making sure that we continue to deliver world-class patient care while responding to the most difficult of operating circumstances that these hospital services will probably ever face.”
Victoria recorded 1466 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths on Tuesday, and NSW had 360 new cases and five deaths.
The ACT, which recorded 25 new cases, is due to emerge from lockdown on Friday and will widen its border bubble exemptions with NSW.
The expanded postcodes will include Braidwood, Goulburn, Cooma, up towards the Snowy Region and Gundagai.
But residents will only be allowed to travel between the jurisdictions to undertake work and study, receive care and shop for essentials without needing to apply for an exemption.
ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said residents from the NSW postcodes can also enter the ACT to visit family and friends under the existing territory gathering limits.
“Work, however, is continuing with the NSW government on common travel arrangements as the vaccination rates of both jurisdictions climb above 80% fully vaccinated. These more significant changes are anticipated to come into effect from late October,” Barr said.
The Australian Parliament is also keeping precautionary measures in place for the next sitting on October 18.
The measures are the same as what were in place before the last sitting in August and September and advise that only staff considered absolutely essential by their employer, and are unable to work remotely, can come into the building.
Witnesses for senate estimates can be signed in but should be at a minimum, the parliament says.