HEALTH SECTOR WORKFORCE

Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house on the extra support our government is providing to support the mental health and wellbeing of our frontline health professionals. I want to acknowledge, firstly, that this year has been particularly challenging for Victorians and even more so for our frontline health professionals. The devastating impacts of the summer bushfires, together with the ongoing effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, will no doubt have a lasting psychological impact on our health workforce. I am incredibly grateful to the more than 15 000 healthcare professionals and students, including nearly every single medical student across Victoria, who put their hands up to support Victoria’s coronavirus response. I sincerely thank them all for generously volunteering their skills.

The health and wellbeing of all health workers is a priority for our government, including their mental health. This is why earlier this month, at a virtual event on Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day, I announced an $850 000 boost in support services for frontline healthcare workers, who are at the forefront of our coronavirus response. The Victorian doctors health program will receive $500 000 to support more doctors and medical students to access free confidential advice and support. The nursing and midwifery health program will receive nearly $350 000 to expand their telehealth services so more nurses, midwifes and students can access support.

Our government is committed to breaking down the stigma associated with mental health. I want to thank Dr Geoff Toogood for founding the Crazy Socks 4 Docs campaign and continuing the important conversation about the mental health and wellbeing of our healthcare professionals. We know that our doctors, our nurses and our midwives provide better care when they are healthy themselves. So I thank each and every one of them for their dedication and commitment in continuing to deliver world-class care for Victorians even during the most difficult of times.