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Additional support for frontline health workers

Photo: File.

The government is planning to introduce additional support for frontline health and disability workers. 

Health Minister David Clark announced today three initiatives to support the health and disability workforce through accommodation, mental health support and access to specialist clinical advice on COVID-19. 

The announcement was made in line with International Nurses Day. 

The initiatives include: 

· Temporary accommodation for health and disability workers living with a vulnerable person

· Phone counselling service for frontline workers

· 0800 COVID-19 clinical advice number

“This year, the work of our nurses has been particularly visible with nurses making up the majority of the workforce tracing close contacts and caring for COVID-19 patients.

“Thank you for all the work that you do each and every day, and thank you again for the work you’ve done during this global pandemic,” David says. 

Today’s announcement outlined a $10 million ring-fenced accommodation fund for health and disability workers who need to stay away from their homes during COVID-19 because they have vulnerable people at home. 

They can also access the fund if they have been deployed to other parts of the country to backfill workers or to provide additional support.

“We want to help you keep your families safe. This fund will help protect vulnerable loved ones, and help staff to continue delivering essential health and disability services. 

“I’m also pleased to say we have set up a phone counselling service for health staff who need extra mental health support during this stressful time. I really encourage our health workers who are looking for some extra support to give this service a call,” David says. 

A COVID-19 clinical advice line for community health providers including general practice nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, pharmacists, midwives and aged residential care providers was also announced today.

“This dedicated number ensures that community clinical staff can access advice directly from their peers.

“Every frontline health and support worker, whether they’re in primary health or community, at a hospital, in an aged care facility, Maori or Pacific provider, NGO or in any other organisation delivering essential services are appreciated for their efforts and we want to support them." 

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