Significant new investment in community and home support services will be essential if the new plan to get the health system through the winter months is to succeed, says the Public Service Association.
PSA Assistant Secretary Melissa Woolley said home and community services were under severe pressure and will need additional resources to step up as the plan envisages.
”Care and support workers are the essential, but often hidden, workforce who enable care and support in the community, lessening admissions to over stretched hospitals, allow for early discharge and supporting people to live comfortably at home. These workers administer medications, provide intimate personal care and do many other tasks needed to enable a client to stay in their own home.
“We know this sector is badly understaffed, underfunded and very poorly paid with many workers having insecure work. Workforce pressure leads to health and safety risks for our members doing this essential work. Low rates of pay makes recruitment a constant struggle.
“A pay equity claim has been raised for these workers to ensure the work they do is valued and they are the rates they deserve that finally recognises their crucial role in an integrated health system. However whilst the claim progresses workers are being hit hard by cost of living pressures. It is critical that these workers receive a pay increase now and not have to rely on pay equity settlement which is some time away.”