Reducing demand on healthcare system would be the best bonus


The Victorian Greens have welcomed a state government decision to provide frontline health workers with a $3,000 bonus, saying it helps recognise the immense pressure and strain they’re currently under.

However, the Greens believe the best bonus the Government could provide would be to help reduce demand in our hospitals in the first place by doing more to bring down community transmission of COVID-19.

With over 500 cases of COVID currently in our hospitals and 47 COVID-related deaths in the past 48 hours, it’s clear we should be doing more to bring down community transmission.

The Greens have previously called on the Government to launch a voluntary ‘mask up for winter’ campaign, to encourage the use of masks in indoor settings. They have also called for a greater emphasis on improving air quality in places where people are less likely to wear masks like bars and restaurants.

However, for months now the Government has been almost silent on community transmission and the impact it’s having on our hospitals, seeming to prefer to leave our hospitals in crisis than address the uncomfortable truth of rising case numbers and strung out health workers.

The Greens want the Government to make the effort to get the latest public health advice and put it into action, rather than to give up on prevention.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read:

“This bonus is great, but the best bonus would be to actually reduce demand on our hospitals and health workers right now. 

“We’ve suggested appealing to the public to wear masks more often and to run a health promotion campaign like past campaigns for safe sex, sun precautions or smoking, to make voluntary masks indoors a social norm.

“We’ve also suggested more work to get businesses, venues and bars to use air purifiers and ventilation to make it safer for staff and patrons who aren’t wearing masks.

“The government has done a bunch of good things, such as free flu vax for this month and subsidies for businesses to get HEPA filters. But we are concerned they are avoiding, rather than seeking, official advice from the CHO and other experts on what else can be done to curb transmission.