COVID-19 escalates understaffing in Australian hospitals
COVID-19 outbreak has been accelerating in Australia’s most populous states, escalating understaffing issues in the hospital system.
On Monday, nurses in two major hospitals in Sydney walked off the job to highlight their low staffing levels, as emergency departments were overcrowded by COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients over long periods, which has caused “chronic understaffing.”
A spokesperson for New South Wales Health told local media that there were 2,719 health workers in isolation across the state. During the peak of the outbreak in January, more than 6,000 staff were forced to isolate on a single day.
The state of Victoria is also battling rising COVID-19 hospitalizations with hospital staff shortages. The Victorian government is urgently hiring about 400 additional specialist staff at 12 major hospitals.
The additional staff will be responsible for assessing patients and discharge coordinators to focus on the timely transition of care from the ward to home or another health facility.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the plan will help lower the pressure in emergency departments and will ensure Victorians get the care they need faster, though recruiting the staff will not be easy and could take a couple of months.
“Since June 22, Victoria has experienced a 99 percent rise in people in hospital with COVID-19, a 60 percent increase in COVID-related ICU admissions and a 47 percent spike in workforce furloughs,” said a statement from the Victorian government on Sunday.
Meanwhile, another pandemic-hit cruise ship was reported in the country, the second such vessel in less than a week. It was docked in Sydney on Monday morning and will head to Moreton Island in the state of Queensland.