Here’s your update of current issues, the ongoing COVID response and other news relating to the broader public sector and union campaigns.
We’re ever hopeful that ongoing issues in the public sector are addressed in a way that offers real and lasting solutions, but we’re not naive enough to think some of those solutions will come without fighting for them.
There’s still a lot going on, with ongoing workload pressure for our members, but we continue to highlight issues and resolve them as we can, and we’ll keep you updated.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout started across the state last week. While we’re still attempting to get more information, this is what we know so far.
The vaccine has been administered at the Royal Hobart Hospital to vaccination workers, testing clinic staff, workers involved in quarantine, some ambulance and workers in the ED and ICU, and in the first week 1159 workers received the vaccine at the Royal.
In week four, the same workers in the north will receive vaccines from the Launceston General Hospital and workers in the north-west will receive their vaccinations at North West Regional Hospital following this.
The first doses are the Pfizer vaccine, and the government believes that next week the AstraZeneca vaccine will also become available in Australia.
We’re told that workers will be contacted and booked in to receive the vaccine, but this may change down the track, so be ready to respond to any contact made and to raise any issues with the vaccine team if you can’t attend for any reason.
We’ll keep an eye on the rollout and will update you as soon as we know more.
Last November the state government released the interim report from the reviewer into the Tasmanian State Service, which can be found here, and all public sector members should have concerns about this review.
The government had set 31 March this year as the release date of the final report, but HACSU expressed concerns in the media and directly with the government that this was too soon, and that the terms of reference and the review itself seemed extremely rushed.
Since the outset, we’vehad serious concerns and provided a further submission reiterating our concernsabout the haste in which the review was being undertaken.
We really encourage all our members to read the report and let us know if there’s anything else of concern.
The public sector isn’t just important for the workers who keep it running every day, it’s essential for the whole Tasmanian community.
The state government recently released an extensive consultation paper called Health Workforce 2040, a 20-year workforce strategy for Tasmania that includes allied health, medical and nursing and midwifery.
The government said its purpose is to shape a health workforce that meets the needs of Tasmanians now and into the future, looks after those who spend their careers caring for others and provides opportunities to support our health professionals to follow their career ambitions.
The strategy is divided into four documents, a strategic volume and a volume each for allied health, medicine and nursing &midwifery, and is available here.
We’re working on a response to the discussion papers and are keen to hear from you if you have any feedback.
Members who work in allied health, nursing, personal care and a number of community service areas are covered by HACSU’s professional indemnity and malpractice policy.
Your coverage protects you against claims for loss, injury or damage arising from an act, error or omission in performance of your services.
To make sure there are no issues with any claim, the policy requires that the insurer be notified as soon as possible that there may be a potential claim, even if nothing ever comes of it.
We’re aware that a number of inquiries and investigations into various government services are occurring so if you are aware of any issue that may see you involved in any way, make sure you get in touch so we can offer you support and make sure that any potential claim is lodged with the insurers.
Earlier this month, HACSU was invited to make a submission to a Legislative Council inquiry into rural health services in Tasmania - the terms of reference can be read here
The inquiry is very broad and will examine the status of current services, barriers to services, current staffing and funding levels, referral pathways and outcomes for people living outside urban areas.
HACSU will be making a submission to the inquiry and we’re keen to hear from you if you work or live in a rural area or you have a story about health care in those areas.
Late last year we were provided with a draft guideline to assist in the provision and management of professional development for allied health professionals.
Agencies have developed this and supporting resources to assist managers and AHPs apply PD arrangements consistently and fairly for all, and the package includes:
· AHP PD guideline
· AHP PD application form
· PD fund accumulation calculator
· PD reflection record
· PD tracking template for admin staff
We’ve held many discussions and our AHP subbranch executive has compiled extensive feedback on the guideline.
We broadly welcome the guidance and the consistency it intends to create, but we have raised a range of issues that we hope will be addressed before finalisation.
We know that most of the time HACSU public sector members are at work busy supporting patients, clients and the broader community so, despite the best efforts of organisers, we sometimes keep missing catching up for a chat.
We’re keen to get out and about and talk to as many of you as is possible and we need your help.
We know that during the pandemic many staff and team meetings were postponed because of the restrictions, but now they should be back on track and we think they’re the perfect opportunity to catch up with everyone.
It might surprise you to hear but we sometimes get the feeling that some managers would prefer if we didn’t know when these meetings are on, so if you have team meetings in your work area, we’d like to know when, where and how often they happen.
To let us know when your meeting is on, or for further information, please contact HACSU assist.
Inform is your union’s Tasmanian magazine, and the summer 2020-21 issue is hot off the press. Just some of what it contains are hundreds of member and event photos, editorials, useful information, campaign news, delegate and staff profiles and member benefits.
See members celebrating Thank You for Working in Aged Care Day and Disability Workers’ Week and lobbying in Canberra for real change in aged care. Read about members taking action at Umina Park and Hobart Private and about the changing community and disability sector. Meet some of your delegates. Get info about unfair dismissals, change proposals, long service leave, aged care annual leave and workplace health & safety. Find out why social issues really are union issues. See more in the endless series of ramped ambulance photos. Check out some HACSU holiday homes. And more…
Thanks for the amazing work you’re continuing to do to support our community.
Feel free to contact HACSUassist between 8am–6pmMonday to Thursday and 8am–5pm on Fridays, about anything in this newsletter or any other issue you have, regardless of how small you feel it might be.
Be strong, take care and stay safe - we’re proud to represent you.