Recovering nurse tells MPs: Do the right thing
The law that automatically grants workers compensation to essential employees who get COVID-19 has been a blessing for Josh, a 25-year-old registered nurse at a busy Sydney emergency department.
Josh has worked on the frontline throughout the pandemic, caring for patients as they present to his ED.
He was twice forced to isolate for a total of four weeks, after being identified as a close contact.
Though testing negative both times, he had to spend the four weeks in hotel quarantine because his sister is an asthmatic and his mum has had collapsed lungs.
In October Josh tested positive after an exposure in the ED – despite being fully vaccinated, wearing full PPE, and adhering to strict infection control policies.
He was again required to isolate away from his family.
With the support of the NSWNMA, Josh was able to lodge a workers compensation claim and receive physiotherapy and psychological support to assist his recovery and return to work.
At a Sydney media conference, Josh urged state MPs to “do the right thing and block the government’s shameful repeal of the law”.
“All frontline staff have done an exceptionally good job in attempting to best care for and protect the people of NSW,” he said.
“Taking this support away from one of the most essential services is unjust and simply cruel.
“It will lead casual nurses and midwives to not risk working as they would be financially, physically and physiologically impacted by COVID-19, with no support.
“This will in turn lead to more patients being cared for by fewer nurses, putting even more strain on an already burnt-out workforce.”
All of the ALP and lower house independents Alex Greenwich, Joe McGirr, Greg Piper, plus Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MPs Roy Butler, Helen Dalton, Philip Donato and Greens MPs Jenny Leong, Jamie Parker and Tamara Smith voted against the government bill.
The bill will now go to an Upper House Committee with submissions due by 20 December 2021 and a hearing to be held on or about 21 January 2022.
The bill can still be defeated in the upper house.