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Learning the lessons from COVID-19

Morally questionable and a major economic mistake

The American nightmare

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Your rights and entitlements at work Nursing research online Crossword Reviews



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The more we support each other, the better off we all are.



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CONTENTS Contacts NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association For all membership enquiries and assistance, including The Lamp subscriptions and change of address, contact our Sydney office. Sydney Office 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017 (all correspondence) T 8595 1234 (metro) 1300 367 962 (non-metro) F 9662 1414 E gensec@nswnma.asn.au W www.nswnma.asn.au

VOLUME 77 NO. 3 JUNE / JULY 2020

Hunter Office 8–14 Telford Street, Newcastle East NSW 2300


NSWNMA Communications Manager Janaki Chellam-Rajendra T 1300 367 962 For all editorial enquiries, letters and diary dates T 8595 1234 E lamp@nswnma.asn.au 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017

COVER STORY COVID-19 demands higher standards of protection

Fit testing is seen as the gold standard in PPE but in the face of the coronavirus’s virulence it is the defence nurses require.

Produced by Hester Communications T 9568 3148 Press Releases Send your press releases to: F 9662 1414 E gensec@nswnma.asn.au Editorial Committee Brett Holmes, NSWNMA General Secretary Judith Kiejda, NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary O’Bray Smith, NSWNMA President Michelle Cashman, Long Jetty Continuing Care Richard Noort, Justice Health Liz McCall, Byron Central Hospital Diane Lang, South East Regional Hospital, Bega Valley Printed by Ovato Print Pty Ltd 37-49 Browns Road, Clayton VIC 3168 Advertising Danielle Nicholson T 8595 2139 or 0429 269 750 F 9662 1414 E dnicholson@nswnma.asn.au Information & Records Management Centre To find archived articles from The Lamp, or to borrow from the NSWNMA nursing and health collection, contact: Adrian Hayward, Coordinator. T 8595 2175 E gensec@nswnma.asn.au The Lamp ISSN: 0047-3936 General Disclaimer The Lamp is the official magazine of the NSWNMA. Views expressed in articles are contributors’ own and not necessarily those of the NSWNMA. Statements of fact are believed to be true, but no legal responsibility is accepted for them. All material appearing in The Lamp is covered by copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission. The NSWNMA takes no responsibility for the advertising appearing herein and it does not necessarily endorse any products advertised. Privacy Statement The NSWNMA collects personal information from members in order to perform our role of representing their industrial and professional interests. We place great emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the privacy and security of your personal information. Personal information is protected under law and can only be released to someone else where the law requires or where you give permission. If you have concerns about your personal information, please contact the NSWNMA office. If you are still not satisfied that your privacy is being maintained, you can contact the Privacy Commission. Subscriptions for 2019 Free to all Association members. Professional members can subscribe to the magazine at a reduced rate of $30. Individuals $84, Institutions $140, Overseas $150.



Make PPE in Australia – or miss out A global pandemic has dramatised our over-reliance on foreign-made medical supplies. Will this spark a revival of our crippled manufacturing sector?



Eye of the storm Coronavirus outbreaks at two Sydney nursing homes have highlighted the virus’s threat to aged care residents and staff.



Asleep at the wheel Most nursing homes did little or nothing to prepare for COVID-19 despite its wellpublicised danger to residents.




Wage freeze: “morally questionable and a major economic mistake” Freezing public sector wages – including those of nurses and midwives – would be economically counterproductive, experts warn.


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Editorial Your letters News in brief Ask Judith Nursing Research Online and Professional Issues Crossword Book Club At the Movies International Nurses Day

DISCLAIMER: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned the following pages contain images of deceased persons.



Learning from Asia Why has East Asia tackled COVID-19 better than most Western countries?



Virus menaces our Pacific neighbours COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm the weak healthcare systems of Pacific island nations.



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The Lamp is independently audited under the AMAA's CAB Total Distribution Audit. Audit Period: 01/04/2018 - 31/03/2019

The American nightmare The US response to the coronavirus has been a disaster of epic proportions.

OUR COVER: Katina Skylas Photographed by Sharon Hickey THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 3

torical nurses g hidiswives n i t b r a nd m Cele a

Sister Alison Bush, AO (SEPTEMBER 1942 – OCTOBER 2010)

“ I just hope I can make a difference.’

Sister Alison Bush, AO was one of the most influential midwives in New South Wales. The eldest of ten children, she was born at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital. Sister Bush began her nursing career at Marrickville Hospital in 1960 and, following further midwifery studies in New Zealand, began working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1969. She was dedicated to improving the experiences and outcomes of women, in particular indigenous women during their pregnancies and early years of childcare. Over the years, she received many awards and accolades for her work. Sister Bush is the only midwife to become an honorary Fellow of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


This was uniquely awarded to her in 1998 in recognition of her antenatal skills transfer program, teaching maternity care to remote Aboriginal Health Workers. She was also the first Aboriginal midwife to work in a tertiary maternity unit, spending 40 years of her career at RPA Women and Babies. In her final days, RPAH established the ‘Sister Alison Bush Memorial Trust Fund Scholarship’ to promote the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women and babies, through clinical placements and education. Authorised by B.Holmes. General Secretary, NSWNMA




A blind belief in the market will no longer do An evidence-based approach is just as important for economic recovery after COVID-19 as it was in the health response to the pandemic. This year, nurses have been confronted with the monumental challenge of two back-to-back crises of epic proportions – both with daunting health consequences. Bush fires of unprecedented size and ferocity, and the biggest global pandemic since 1913, have put our public health system under enormous pressure in a way that could barely have been imagined six months ago. Nurses have risen to these challenges magnificently. These crises came out of the blue and our level of preparedness was underwhelming, yet Australia has coped relatively well, in no small part because of our robust, universal public health system underpinned by highly professional and dedicated nursing and midwifery workforces. The sacrifice of nurses has been inspiring. COVID-19 has shown that if you need a steady hand in a crisis, nurses always deliver. You would think the government’s response to such a stellar performance would be one of appreciation and a commitment to strengthen our public health system and to lift the morale and wellbeing of its nursing workforce. Not so. The Berejiklian government’s decision to freeze public sector wages, including those of nurses and midwives, is not only disappointing, it’s exasperating. As one commentator has said, it is “morally questionable and a major economic mistake” (see p20). Austerity policies such as the cost cutting of public services and the freezing of wages – the classic neoliberal strategy – were a disaster as a response to the last great economic shock – the Global Financial Crisis. The bushfires and now COVID-19 show the false economies of the neoliberal model that has been imposed on us for decades.

‘Investing in vital public services like health, including the workforce that sustains these services, needs to be seen as an investment not a cost. The cost, as we are now painfully aware, comes from not doing it.’ It is an economic model of penny pinching, neglect, a failure to invest in vital services, of insufficient planning and a lack of preparedness – all driven by a narrow, sectarian vision which serves corporate interests above the interests of society. It is an economic model which has seen domestic manufacturing wither and has left us vulnerable to overseas production and supply of PPE and vaccines and in an unedifying competition for these resources in a global market (see p12). The economic hit from this failed vision – which places blind faith in the market at the heart of all governance – is incalculable. It will no longer do.

INVEST IN PEOPLE Spending public money on vital services like health, including the workforce that sustains these services, needs to be seen as an investment not a cost. The cost, as we are now painfully aware, comes from not doing it. Cheerleaders for the corporate sector are advocating something completely different. “The COVID-19 shock opens the political door for a policy reset that the Morrison government must now commit to fully walking through,” the Australian Financial Review recently editorialised. That reset, it continued, included tackling “state-wide, rigid,

union-negotiated industrial award agreements for public hospital doctors, nurses and other operational staff”. This is not a reset. It is more of the same, failed economic policies of recent decades. Make no mistake a freeze is a real cut to wages and it will flow to all our members in the private and aged care sectors let alone the rest of the workforce by sheer market forces. There is another way, which has even been advocated by heavyweight institutions like the IMF and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Their policy prescriptions for higher wages to bolster sluggish economic growth have been based on empirical analyses of the austerity measures imposed in the wake of the GFC. These measures were implemented as soon as the Liberal–Nationals won government from the ALP. Both the federal government and the NSW government are to be applauded for listening to and following the advice of health experts in handling the coronavirus pandemic. It is a welcome change to the denial of science when it comes to climate change. It’s now time for them to be brave in the economic realm and to abandon the discredited policies of the past and to listen to the economic evidence that has been growing since the GFC erupted a decade ago. They could start by abandoning their ill-considered wage freeze. n THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 5


Have your


LETTER OF THE MONTH Listening to the science is working on COVID-19. Now let’s try it on climate change

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All I want for Mother’s Day ... is a cleaner, greener, recovery plan post COVID-19. Despite the suffering brought on by a global pandemic, the positives are that our planet has been given a little time to breathe. This is obvious with the improvement in air quality in our cities as I look up with my kids and see the stars in a clearer sky. The Morrison government has shown us in its dealings of coronavirus that it is possible to listen to the experts and listen to the science, and get results. We now have an amazing opportunity to direct our recovery to transition to a lower carbon economy and avoid some of the most dangerous and irreversible effects of climate change. Deanna Hayes

Letter of the month The letter judged the best each month will win a $50 Coles Group & Myer gift card! Union Shopper offers members BIG savings on a wide range of products! unionshopper.com.au 1300 368 117 23/02/15 If there’s something on your mind, send us a letter and have your say. The letter of the month will WIN a gift card.

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SEND YOUR LETTERS TO: Editorial Enquiries EMAIL lamp@nswnma.asn.au fax 9662 1414 
 MAIL 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017. Please include a high-resolution photo along with your name, address, phone and membership number. Letters may be edited for clarity and space. Anonymous letters will not be published.

A letter to the Minister for Aged Care I’m writing with great concern about the lockdown at aged care facilities. I understand why this is being done, but I feel the whole process hasn’t been well thought through. My father-in-law is in a nursing home, he’s 94, has some dementia and is deaf. He normally has his son, who’s retired, visit three times a week. His daughter visited on Sundays and would take him out for lunch. Now he and thousands of other old people are stuck in these homes with no visitors, no stimulation and no one who loves and cares for them around them. This is appalling. The staff are run off their feet and don’t have time to do anything but basic care and now my father-in-law can’t feed himself, I seriously wonder how much food he’s actually getting. He has a big appetite and when he was feeding himself, he was eating very well. When the staff have to feed several people, it’s a feed-them-asquickly-as possible attitude and move on to the next one, which isn’t their fault, it’s a staffing issue. I feel that maybe a family member could visit once a week to check on their loved one and give them some care and stimulation so they don’t deteriorate over the next six months whilst this lockdown is happening. They could have their temperature taken and be asked some questions prior to coming in to visit. I realise that’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than what’s happening now. Another thing that could be done is a Skype call to the family once a week so the aged person still sees their family. My father-in-law wouldn’t understand why no one is visiting him. I am a nurse myself so I have a good understanding of all these issues

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and I would like to see something done about it before it’s too late. It’s cruel to deny these oldies contact with their families. Please look again at this issue. Philippa Wright

We should have been better prepared The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named 2020 the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’. As the world faces the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, communities around the world increasingly acknowledge the commitment, knowledge and skills required, and the values and ethics integral to the role of nurses. In Australia, nurses are well trained, dedicated and place high value on their significant work, yet many have experienced decades of relatively low salaries, high rates of work-related injuries, poor work conditions, and are frequently faced with extremely stressful and challenging situations. This is now compounded by inadequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – essential for their important work in a pandemic. The WHO has long warned of future pandemics, so I wonder why our governments did not effectively resource our hospitals, and particularly our nurses and healthcare workers?’ Lynette Saville

Let’s advocate for more nurses and safer practice I am an Australian mature-aged student with life experience and a prior career in health care as an acupuncturist. I was very excited to complete my degree with credits, and extend my medical skills to serve the public in a different way and environment than I have in the past. I chose the Children’s Hospital as my first preference, but I narrowly missed out as it seems most of the AiNS from the hospital were successful and funding was cut by the government at the last minute, so new graduate positions were halved. I have been applying for everything and rejected for lack of experience (or due to my age). I am happy to do a new graduate position in any hospital or as an RN1. There are so many nurses needed (especially in regard to the current world health concerns) but without the safe and necessary mentoring that is required for safe practice, how can new nurses gain the experience needed? Things will only deteriorate with burnout of nurses in the current health climate and as more nurses are overburdened there will be further risk of medical errors occurring. Is there a way we can raise our voices collectively to advocate for more positions and guidance into safe practice? I hope you can help as I feel lost. I feel that The Lamp can raise the collective concerns for this profession. Christina Atkins

Advertise in The Lamp and reach more than 66,000 nurses and midwives. To advertise contact Danielle Nicholson 02 8595 2139 / 0429 269 750 dnicholson@nswnma.asn.au



COVID-19 demands higher standards of protection Fit testing is seen as the gold standard in PPE, but in the face of the coronavirus’s virulence it is the defence that nurses require.


n 6 May, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) estimated that the novel coronavirus pandemic had infected at least 90,000 healthcare workers and killed more than 260 nurses worldwide. The ICN said official statistics undoubtedly underestimated the true nature of the problem. “The lack of official data on infections and deaths among nurses and other healthcare workers is scandalous,” said ICN chief executive officer Howard Catton. “Nurses and healthcare workers have been put at greater risk because of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and poor preparedness for this pandemic.” Australia has faced its own challenges with supply and preparedness. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak the vast majority of our PPE was manufactured overseas and fit testing – a stringent standard for the use of P2/N95 respirators – had been applied in a very limited way.

NSW HEALTH COMMITS TO FIT TESTING In the early days of the pandemic NSW Health was reluctant to embrace fit testing. But following pressure from the NSWNMA and our branches and other health unions, NSW Health now says the evidence around fit testing “remains equivocal” but “in the interests of staff welfare we are supportive of the implementation of fit testing until there is more 8 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

unequivocal evidence available”. NSW Hea lt h ha s f lag ged difficulties with the immediate statewide implementation of fit testing “due to limited supplies and range of types/sizes available”. It has committed to implementing fit testing across NSW as a “rolling program” learning from the Sydney LHD and Hunter New England LHD, which have focused on limited fit testing with high risk staff in high risk areas, caring for high risk patients. Sydney LHD was an early adopter of all COVID-19 planning and protection. Early in the outbreak they limited the size of meetings and used Zoom for communication. Where fit testing has been implemented the feedback from nurses has been positive. Katina Skylas, NSWNMA Branch President at Concord Hospital, who works in the intensive care unit, says fit testing gives nurses some peace of mind. “Knowing when you walk into that room that you are safe relieves an immense amount of pressure,” she said.

“We are all going home to families and elderly parents and people who are sick at home; we need to know we are safe for them. “Fit testing is part of Australian Standards, but a new concept to most workplaces; everyone knows fit checking, but fit testing is a new practice. We are fortunate in the Sydney LHD to have the support of district executive: they have purchased testing devices.” NSWNMA Secretary Brett Holmes says COVID-19 has highlighted in stark terms the need to protect frontline nurses in the midst of a highly virulent pandemic. “Everything has to be done to minimise the risk to nurses,” he said. “The nature of their jobs makes social distancing impossible. It is essential we have the highest standards of PPE to protect them. “That means broadening what our traditional concept of best practice in PPE is. “It also means improving local manufacture of equipment so we are not relying on overseas suppliers to meet healthcare supply chain needs.” n

‘Everything has to be done to minimise the risk to nurses. It is essential we have the highest standards of PPE to protect them.’ — Brett Holmes


“Fit testing is extremely important” Katina Skylas, NSWNMA Branch President at Concord Hospital, tells The Lamp how fit testing works. “We put a mask on our face that is connected to software that measures particulate level inside the mask to assess effective mask seal. “As part of the test we do a range of activities, such as bending up and down, turning your head left and right and saying a phrase that has a mix of all the possible consonant combinations to emulate every shape our face would move in when we are talking. “There is a threshold number it has to reach for it to be a good fit. “We need to reduce the risk of potential exposure to any pathogens, so fit testing is extremely important. I need to know that a particular mask fits me, and every time I put that mask on, I need to know it

works properly. “At Concord we had a stock of masks that everyone thought were superior, but on testing they actually failed the fit test for a number of people: it wasn’t the best mask for them, but it did fit others. “Conversely, there were a lot of P2 masks that we thought were ineffectual: we didn’t think they provided a good seal, but in testing it was actually a very good mask for many staff. “Staff try a range of masks that are available, and if they don’t fit it is deemed not safe for them to walk into the infectious room, and they aren’t allocated to those patients. “About nine per cent of tested staff have failed the fit test, which highlights the need

‘Knowing when you walk into that room that you are safe relieves an immense amount of pressure.’ — Katina Skylas

to find other solutions. “We’ve been able to get access to other masks, including reusable batterypowered face masks. They are expensive but important to maintain workplace safety.”



“Best practice is that fit testing should take place to protect health care workers” Local campaigns by numerous NSWNMA branches have led to a larger uptake of fit testing. The Lamp talked to Shoalhaven Hospital branch secretary Michael Clarke about the experiences of his branch.

AS A HEALTH WORKER DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY PREPARED AND PROTECTED TO WORK EFFECTIVELY? I don’t think the health system had really prepared for a pandemic; there’s been issues with PPE and PPE supply. We are getting enough through, but all our members are aware that there is a scarcity of appropriate PPE, and that provides some concern.

WHAT WAS YOUR BRANCH’S POSITION ON FIT TESTING? We’re guided by what the Association is telling us locally. A lot of our members hadn’t heard of fit testing before; they had heard of fit checking, which is something you can do … as a ward-based solution, but if the best practice is that fit testing should take place to protect health care workers, then we believe as a branch that should happen. Our organiser has been quite active in making sure we have the appropriate PPE at our hospital, and where it has become evident that we’re short, the branch, our organiser and the Association have been quite active in working out what is going on. Our organiser also made us aware of the importance of fit testing. We had an issue with fit testing of P2 and N95 masks and our branch passed a resolution… to ensure fit testing was made available to members.

WHY IS IT CRITICAL THAT THE MASKS FIT PROPERLY? We are using a number of P2 and N95 masks that are made quite differently, and obviously we are working with all sorts of people… so the branch feels it’s essential that the masks are fit tested to protect members from crosscontamination from airborne droplets when dealing with potential COVID-19 patients.

IS IT JUST ICUs OR ARE OTHER WARDS VULNERABLE TOO? There are a number of hospital areas where our members are wearing P2 and N95 masks … it’s ED, and we also have a medical ward that is dealing with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients and a walk-in testing clinic.

WHAT WAS HAPPENING WHEN THE MASKS DIDN’T FIT? I’m aware of there being a limited supply of P2 and N95 that can fit all face types, so where that has been a problem we’ve encouraged staff to not go ahead and wear the wrong mask and we’ve asked management to make sure that the right mask is made available. It has been a bit of a learning curve for management as well, so now they know we have a large number of people that need to be tested. n

‘It has been a bit of a learning curve for management as well, so now they know we have a large number of people that need to be tested.’ — Michael Clarke 10 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020


Comparing Australian PPE guidelines with the NHS

Room for improvement on PPE

The emergence of COVID-19 has led to a rethink on PPE internationally. In Britain the NHS has revised its guidelines on PPE as of April 2020. The main changes are: • enhanced PPE recommendations for a wide range of health and social care contexts • inclusion of individual and organisational risk assessment at local level to inform PPE use • r ecommendation of singlesessional use of some PPE items • r eusable PPE can be used. Advice on suitable decontamination arrangements should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control • g uidance for when case status is unknown and SARS-CoV-2 is circulating at high levels • a recommendation on patient use of face masks.

Over 5500 members responded to an NSWNMA survey on PPE in early May. In the public sector:

Key differences between the new UK advice and current Australian advice include: • The UK has a much wider definition as to who should be considered a potential case • The masks recommended in the UK for airborne risk are FFP3s; these filter 99 per cent compared to the P2/N95, which filter 94 per cent and 95 per cent respectively • Surgical masks in the UK are divided into two types – surgical masks, and fluid resistant (Type IIR) surgical masks. There are very few situations where the use of surgical masks is being recommended in the UK, whereas these are the masks being recommended in NSW hospitals for all routine care of COVID-19 patients.


of nurses and midwives said they do not have adequate supplies of hand sanitiser


say there is not enough supply of PPE


are worried patients may be contagious but not identified as such


NSWNMA COVID-19 resources available online

wearing a P2/N95 mask that has not been fit tested

All nurses and midwives in NSW have a right to stay safe and be protected at work. The NSWNMA has produced numerous online resources for members seeking information regarding COVID-19: • COVID-19 updates and guidelines and can be accessed through The Lamp website: thelamp.com.au/professional-issues/covid19/ latest-guidelines-for-nurses-covid-19 • Frequently Asked Questions can be accessed through Member Central: online.nswnma.asn.au • For your rights around PPE, information about the fit testing program and what you need at work for COVID-19 go to: thelamp.com.au/ professional-issues/covid19/ppe/ • Posters and shareable memes for public health system and aged care workers can be downloaded from: www.nswnma.asn.au/ safer-work-safer-care/ppe-your-right-to-practice-safely/ • Encourage your colleagues to join the NSWNMA. They can join at online at bit.ly/NSWNMAjoin


PRACTICE SAFELY All nurses and midwives in NSW have a right to stay safe and protected at work


about appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): what you need and when


to undertake tasks if the appropriate PPE is not available and you’re feeling unsafe


if you are concerned for your safety or others and respond appropriately to unsafe or unprofessional practice


the PPE you’re using is fit tested and fit checked as required by CEC guidelines*. If your P2/N95 fails the fit check you must be redeployed away from risk of exposure


to colleagues and work together to improve workplace safety. Ask the NSWNMA about becoming a Health and Safety Rep

Join the union and encourage your colleagues to join WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER



incidents and escalate concerns to your manager and the NSWNMA

*Stay informed and up to date with the latest PPE information and advice

Authorised by B.Holmes, General Secretary, NSWNMA

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 11


Make PPE in Australia – or miss out A global pandemic has dramatised our over-reliance on foreign-made medical supplies. Will this spark a revival of our crippled manufacturing sector?


or decades, a drive to lowest cost production has led Australia to outsource ma nufacture of medical equipment and medicines to other countries. The COVID-19 outbreak has shown the folly of this approach – even to a federal government that happily waved goodbye to our car-manufacturing capacity.

‘We’ve all had the thought that manufacturing is dirty, it’s old, we’re too slow and too expensive. Things will be different now.’ — Alison Pennington, Centre for Future Work

The pandemic produced a steep rise in global demand for surgical masks, goggles, gloves, and gowns.

transport; most cargo is carried in passenger planes, which were grounded by travel bans.

It depleted stockpiles, prompted significant price increases, and led to production backlogs of four to six months in fulfilling orders.

G ove r n me nt de p a r t me nt s appea led to loca l ma nufacturers capable of switching their production lines to medica l equipment and supplies.

The consequences for Australian healthcare workers were highlighted in April when about 4500 medical staff signed an open letter demanding state and federal governments urgently provide more personal protective equipment (PPE). They said they feared for themselves, their families and vulnerable patients and were reduced to buying N95 ventilator masks from eBay. In some pharmacies the cost of a single N95 mask jumped from $1.30 to $38.50, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Australian authorities scrambled to source overseas equipment but came up against a shortage of air 12 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

The list of required products included surgical gowns, gloves, goggles, hand sanitiser, clinical waste bags, waste bag ties, blood and fluid spill kits, mask fit test kits and thermometers. Some companies were able to answer the government’s call. Four Australian manufacturers teamed up with an international medical technolog y company, using local supply chains, to make emergency beds designed for patients in respiratory distress. ResMed ramped up ventilator production and had delivered more than 3000 ventilators to the federal government’s COVID-19

stockpile by late April. Victorian company Med-Con, Australia’s only maker of medical masks, was also able to boost supply. Fa m i ly- ow ne d Victoria n business, Clets Linen, which normally specialises in linen and garments for hospitality and other industries, switched to provide 3,750 disposable isolation gowns in its first production run.

IS THIS THE START OF A NEW ERA OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY? Alison Pennington, an economist at the Australia Institute’s Centre for F uture Work, described coronavirus as “the nail in the coffin” to Australia’s existing economic relationships. “We’ve all had the thought that manufacturing is dirty, it’s old, we’re too slow and too expensive,” she told ABC News. “Things will be different now.” Australia’s manufacturing sector has been shrinking for decades


‘It is a little naive to think because the United States is doing a lot of the vaccine development, that they are going to put us right at the front of the queue.’ — Dr Craig Rayner – from almost 30 per cent of gross domestic product in the 1960s to six per cent of GDP today. The federal government has set up a manufacturing “taskforce” to advise it on how to “pivot” to local manufacturing in a post-COVID-19 world. Blogger Don Sutherland, a retired organiser and educator for the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), says if the government and its big business supporters are serious, this step is “a radical about-face”. “Various Liberal–National Party governments have driven the slow and steady destruction of Australian manufacturing,” he points out. “Of course, this came to a head a few years ago when then Treasurer Joe Hockey encouraged GM, Ford and Toyota to get out of car manufacturing in Australia.” The taskforce comprises mostly corporate chiefs and one union representative – AMW U national secretary, Paul Bastian. Bastian appealed to governments, industry and unions to collaborate on ways to maximise local participation in big infrastructure projects and industry sectors such as food, defence, mining and engineering. Sutherland questions whether the government will heed Bastian’s appeal. “The Morrison government is determined to extend the denial of workers’ and union rights in its planning for post pandemic recovery,” he says. n

Our risky reliance on imported vaccines and drugs A report to the Defence Department three years ago warned that Australia lacks the facilities and know-how to make its own pandemic vaccines. The report analysed Australia’s ability to develop “medical countermeasures” including vaccines and drugs for threats including pandemics, radiation and chemical and biological weapons. The report noted Australia had ‘limited’ manufacturing facilities and not enough experts who could take a drug from discovery through to a finished product. We also lack national, coordinated leadership to turn good science into products, it said. It called for Australia to urgently establish a national “medical countermeasures” initiative – a public–private organisation to work on vaccines and drugs. The report’s lead author, Dr Craig Rayner, told the Sydney Morning Herald the report should have been a wake-up call for Australia to boost its vaccine and drug

development infrastructure before a pandemic broke out. “It is a little naive to think because the United States is doing a lot of the vaccine development, that they are going to put us right at the front of the queue,” Dr Rayner said. “They are going to look after their own first.” Another report to the government in February underlined the perils of Australia’s reliance on global supply chains for vital medicines. The Institute for Integrated Economic Research report warned Australia is dangerously dependent on imported medicine and as a matter of national security must develop “some level of sovereign capability” to safeguard supply. “Australia imports over 90 per cent of medicines and is at the end of a very long global supply chain, making the nation vulnerable to supply chain disruptions,” the report said.

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 13


Eye of the storm Coronavirus outbreaks at two Sydney nursing homes have highlighted the virus’s threat to aged care residents and staff.


y the second week of May, COVID-19 had hit a minimum of 17 nursing homes around Australia and taken the lives of 26 residents.

and eight agencies. On some days we struggle to have a full staff complement, and it’s no one’s fault,” he said.

In NSW, the spotlight fell on two Sydney nursing homes: BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge at Macquarie Park and Anglicare’s Newmarch House at Penrith.

He said it was taking staff at least five times longer to deliver care to residents because of the need to dress in full PPE, follow a stringent hygiene regime, and maintain social isolation.

Dorothy Henderson Lodge became Australia's first COVID-19 cluster after learning on 4 March that one of its employees had contracted the virus.

Even a simple task like giving a COVID-19 resident a phone to make a call took five times as long because of the need to put on and take off PPE and clean up, he said.

Three of its residents were among the first four people to die from coronavirus on Australian soil.


Despite being one of the first to be challenged in handling the virus in an aged care facility, the Dorothy Henderson outbreak appears to have been generally well-managed. The outbreak was officially over by early May. In contrast, Anglicare’s handling of the Newmarch House outbreak was controversial. At the time of publication t he virus had k i l le d 19 Newmarch residents – almost all of whom were palliated onsite – and infected more than 70 staff and residents. “We are in the eye of a storm,” Anglicare CEO, Grant Millard, said on 21 April, 10 days after the first infection at Newmarch House was confirmed. “Everyone is struggling to find staff for us, including the C om monwe a lt h G ove r n me nt 14 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

Newmarch became the only facility in Australia to be disciplined by the industry regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, over COVID-19 so far. T he Com m is sion ha nde d Newmarch a formal notice of compliance and told it to appoint an independent adviser. And the federal minister for aged care, Richard Colbeck, called on the current Royal Commission into aged care to examine Newmarch so “we understand properly what has occurred here”. On at least 10 occasions, Anglicare media statements thanked state and federal health auth-

orities for their “significant”, “strong” and “generous” support at Newmarch House. Despite this, Anglicare has argued publicly with state and federal health authorities over how the outbreak was handled. While some residents needing ventilation were hospitalised, Mr Millard said all COVID-positive residents should have been sent to Nepean District Hospital. He told The Sydney Morning Herald that Anglicare could not get enough registered nurses into Newmarch House in the early days of the outbreak and could not get enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff. A NSW Health spokesperson told the Herald that under nationally agreed guidelines on managing COVID-19 in aged care facilities, residents would be transferred to hospital “only if their condition warrants”. The spokesperson said Newmarch “struggled to comply with their responsibilities under the national guidelines” and said NSW Health then “assisted in providing infectious disease specialists, palliative and geriatric specialists” to work in the facility. n

‘Everyone is struggling to find staff for us, including the Commonwealth Government and eight agencies.’ — Anglicare CEO Grant Millard


From non-essential to heroes When Jocelyn Hofman hears politicians describe nurses as “frontline heroes” in the fight against the COVID-19 virus she thinks back to the eve of International Nurses’ Day three years ago. In 2014, the NSW Liberal– National Coalition government threatened to drop a long-standing requirement to employ registered nurses in aged care facilities 24/7. A community campaign led by the NSWNMA resulted in a bill to reverse that decision passing the upper house of the NSW parliament. On Thursday 11 May 2017 – the eve of International Nurses Day – Coalition MPs voted to defeat the bill that would have required all nursing homes to have RNs on duty around-the-clock. Jocelyn Hofman, who is an RN at a Blue Mountains aged care facility, says it should not have taken a pandemic to show politicians the importance of qualified staffing of nursing homes. “In 2017, this government deemed registered nurses non-essential by voting down that bill,” she said. “Now, with COVID-19, nurses are regarded as essential in the aged care sector. We are now hailed as ‘heroes in the frontline’. “Why weren’t we regarded as essential back in 2017? We are doing the same job as before – looking after our residents and trying to keep them safe. “We don’t need platitudes about being heroes when it suits the government’s narrative. We need legislative action to ensure that

there are ratios for registered nurses and assistants in nursing or personal care workers in all aged care facilities.” Jocelyn said nurses are essential in aged care for infection control, to properly assess the health of residents and to mentor the healthcare team. “Nurses are needed to assess anyone with respiratory symptoms and initiate barrier nursing to make sure highly contagious diseases do not spread.” By mid-May, the federal government had given aged care providers an additional $850 million to deal with COVID-19. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funds are aimed at ensuring providers “can offer reinforced levels of safety and care for those who need it most”. Morrison said providers would get about $900 per resident in major metropolitan areas and $1350 per resident in all other areas. Jocelyn is concerned that the money is being handed over without requiring facilities to commit to adequate staffing or to properly train staff. “Pandemic-related training is mandatory, but nurses are often expected to do it in their own time, without getting paid for it,” she said. A nationwide survey of nurses revealed that up to 80 per cent of aged care facilities had no increase in care staff to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak.

‘Why weren’t we regarded as essential back in 2017? We are doing the same job as before – looking after our residents and trying to keep them safe.’ — Jocelyn Hofman

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 15


What can workers in aged care facilities learn from the impact of COVID-19 so far? The national Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson, has described managing a COVID-19 outbreak as “an extremely challenging task”. “We have learned that every instance of an outbreak at an aged care facility pushes aside business as usual,” she said. Two of Sydney’s pandemic hot spots – Newmarch House and Dorothy Henderson Lodge – have provided early pointers on how a nursing home should manage a COVID-19 outbreak.


arrangements will be made for dementia sufferers.

Infectious diseases physician Lyn Gilbert, chief investigator at the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies, said the most effective things Dorothy Henderson Lodge did were closing the facility to visitors, engaging a senior infection control specialist at the start and requiring regular staff to self-quarantine.

At Newmarch House, the virus is believed to have spread from an infected staff member who attended work for six shifts.

BaptistCare shut down the facility to visitors and notified families the day after the outbreak was detected. The layout of the complex helped to contain the outbreak. The Lodge is divided into six wings, one of which was isolated for COVID-positive residents and their nurses and carers and treated as a hazard site. That reduced the need to keep residents confined to their rooms and to medicate and sedate anyone with dementia. It also reduced the amount of PPE needed. In a facility with a different layout, best practice may involve isolating COVIDpositive residents in clearly identified rooms. The NSWNMA recommends that members prepare for any COVID-19 infection by finding out where their facility plans to put residents who need to be isolated and what

‘We have learned that every instance of an outbreak at an aged care facility pushes aside business as usual.’ — Janet Anderson

16 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

After learning that a staff member and a resident had tested positive, Anglicare announced that all Newmarch residents were in self-isolation in their own rooms and all staff had been “directed to wear full PPE when caring for residents”.

PAID LEAVE FOR ISOLATION Identifying possible sources of infection is vital to containing outbreaks and best practice may include sending all possibly exposed staff home on paid COVID leave to protect workers and residents. The NSWNMA expects providers to provide paid leave for all members sent home due to an outbreak and accommodation for members who do not wish to isolate at home. At Dorothy Henderson Lodge, all staff who may have had contact with the virus were sent home on full pay. Anglicare accommodated some COVID-positive Newmarch House staff at a retirement village with all food provided. It accommodated some noninfected staff at hotels so they did not have to worry about bringing the virus home.


PPE AND FIT TESTING FOR STAFF Throughout the aged care sector, many members are worried whether their facility has enough of the correct PPE and whether they have the right training to use PPE properly. The NSWNMA expects facilities to have adequate supplies of PPE as required under guidelines laid down by NSW Health’s Clinical Excellence Commission. PPE must include sufficient P2/N95 masks for palliating residents. Facilities should have a clear plan for donning and doffing of PPE. Providers should arrange fit testing for staff who will be expected to care for COVIDpositive residents and who require P2/N95 masks. Anglicare CEO, Grant Millard, told the Sydney Morning Herald that promises made by suppliers of PPE fell through and state and federal authorities did not supply Newmarch House with adequate PPE, especially gowns. He said there was enough protective gear to care for those who were COVID-19 positive but not enough to cover staff attending other seemingly non-positive residents. “And that’s a key learning for everybody about an outbreak. You must assume that every resident in that home is positive,” he added.

SECOND JOBS Aged care providers are scrambling to find enough staff to carry the additional workload imposed by COVID-19. They want to reduce the high cost of overtime, double shifts and agency nurses. They also want to prevent crosscontamination from one facility to another. As a result, many members have been pressured to give up their second jobs and work only for one employer. However, there is no guarantee of ongoing employment when coronavirus is no longer an issue. NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, says it is unfair to expect a worker to give up their relationship with another workplace, and the accumulated sick leave, long service leave and other entitlements that come with that second job. She says the union has confirmed with the federal government that there is no government policy or medical advice requiring aged care workers to limit their employment to one site. Judith says employers should ensure transmission is minimised by proper screening of workers and visitors, appropriate infection control and adequate PPE.

Where to go for aged care safety information NSWNMA advice for aged care workers on COVID-19: https://thelamp.com.au/ specialities/aged-care/agedcare-information-on-covid-19/ Federal government advice for aged care workers and providers on COVID-19: https://www.health.gov. au/news/health-alerts/ novel-coronavirus-2019ncov-health-alert/coronaviruscovid-19-advice-for-thehealth-and-aged-care-sector/ providing-aged-care-servicesduring-covid-19 NSW Health advice on PPE: http://www.cec.health.nsw. gov.au/keep-patients-safe/ COVID-19/Personal-ProtectiveEquipment-PPE



All aged care workers in NSW have a right to stay safe and protected at work


about appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE): what you need and when


to undertake tasks if the appropriate PPE is not available and you’re feeling unsafe


if you are concerned for your safety or others and respond appropriately to unsafe or unprofessional practice


the PPE you’re using is fit tested and fit checked as required by CEC guidelines*. If your P2/N95 fails the fit check you must be redeployed away from risk of exposure


to colleagues and work together to improve workplace safety. Ask the NSWNMA about becoming a Health and Safety Rep

Join the union and encourage your colleagues to join WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER



incidents and escalate concerns to your manager and the NSWNMA

*Stay informed and up to date with the latest PPE information and advice

Authorised by B.Holmes, General Secretary, NSWNMA

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 17


Asleep at the wheel Most nursing homes did little or nothing to prepare for COVID-19 despite its well-publicised danger to residents


majority of nursing homes had no increase in care staff to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak – and some even suffered staff cuts, a nationwide survey revealed.

The survey was done by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) from 15 April to 6 May. A total of 1980 registered and enrolled nurses, assistants in nursing/personal care workers and ancillary staff from for-profit, not-for-profit and government aged care providers, took part. Eighty per cent of facilities reported no increase in care staff to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak. Worse, 19 per cent of survey respondents working in for-profit, 17 per cent in not-for-profit and 13 per cent in government-run facilities reported staff cuts since the beginning of March. Fewer than 40 per cent said their facility was prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak and fewer than 30 per cent said they had enough personal protective equipment. Fifty three per cent said they were willing to work more shifts during the pandemic. ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said the federal government had given providers considerable financial assistance since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia. She said the ANMF was concerned that staffing had not been increased and, in some cases, had actually been reduced since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak “despite a majority of workers reporting that they would be willing to work additional hours to help out during the pandemic”. “Aged care workers are reporting significant levels of stress, pressure and a lack of support as the sector grapples to combat COVID-19.” n

Elderly pay heaviest price Around the world, COVID-19 has taken a disproportionate toll of aged care residents. “We failed to protect our elderly. That’s really serious, and a failure for society as a whole,” Sweden’s health minister, Lena Hallengren, has admitted. About 90 per cent of the 3,700 people who had died from coronavirus in Sweden were over 70, and half were living in nursing homes, according to a study from Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare at the end of April. More than half of Belgium’s coronavirus victims have died in nursing homes. Workers say the sector was initially overlooked, and they suffered from shortages of masks and skyrocketing prices for hand sanitiser. Italy’s higher health institute found that between 1 February and 17 April there had been 6773 deaths across all nursing homes, 40 per cent of which were due to COVID-19. Residents of nursing homes have accounted for a huge proportion of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Such deaths now account for more than half of all fatalities in 14 states, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But only 33 states report nursing home-related deaths, so the true extent of the problem remains unknown, The Guardian newspaper reported.

‘Aged care workers are reporting significant levels of stress, pressure and a lack of support as the sector grapples to combat COVID-19.’ — Annie Butler 18 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020


New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association


Summary of Financial Information for the Year Ended 31 December 2019

he financial statements of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association have been audited in accordance with the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1991, and the following summary is provided for members in accordance with Section 517(2) of the Act, as applied by section 282(3) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1996. A copy of the Financial Statements, including the independent Audit Report, will be supplied free of charge to members upon request. Certificates required to be given under the Act by the Accounting Officer and the Committee of Management have been completed in accordance with the provisions of the Act and contain no qualifications.

SUMMARY STATEMENT OF PROFIT OR LOSS AND OTHER COMPREHENSIVE INCOME FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2019 2019 ($) Membership revenue 40,393,833 NursePower fund subscriptions 2,125,991 Other income 2,926,166 Total income 45,445,990 Less total expenditure (45,744,373) Result for the year (298,383) Remeasurement of retirement benefit obligations (53,330) Total comprehensive income attributable to members (351,713) SUMMARY BALANCE SHEET AS AT 31 DECEMBER 2019 Total equity 45,706,209 Represented by: Current assets 21,864,135 Non-current assets 30,734,698 Total assets 52,598,833 Current liabilities 6,600,552 Non-current liabilities 292,072 Total liabilities 6,892,624 Net assets 45,706,209

INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED TO MEMBERS OR REGISTRAR In accordance with the requirements of the Industrial Relations Act, 1991 [NSW] the attention of members is drawn to the provisions of Sub-Sections (1) and (2) of Section 512 which read as follows: (1) A member of an organisation, or the Industrial Registrar, may apply to the organisation for specified information prescribed by the regulations in relation to the organisation. (2) An organisation must, on the making of such an application, make the specified information available to the member or the Industrial Registrar in the manner, and within the time, prescribed by the regulations.

2018 ($) 39,480,339 2,077,915 2,413,995 43,972,249 (44,053,907) (81,658) 56,477 (25,181)

46,057,922 13,471,942 39,871,118 53,343,060 7,166,069 119,069 7,285,138 46,057,922



The summary financial statements which comprise the summary balance sheet as at 31 December 2019 and the summary statement of profit or loss and comprehensive income for the year then ended are derived from the audited financial report of New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association for the year ended 31 December 2019. In our opinion, the accompanying summary financial statements are a fair summary of the audited financial report.

Summary Financial StatementS

The summary financial statements do not contain all the disclosures required by section 510 of the Industrial Relations Act 1991 [NSW] or Australian Accounting Standards. Reading the summary financial statements and the auditor’s report thereon, therefore, is not a substitute for reading the audited financial report and the auditor’s report thereon.

the audited Financial report and our report thereon

We expressed an unmodified audit opinion on the audited financial report in our report dated 7 April 2020. Our Independent Auditor’s Report to the members on the Financial Report did not contain any particulars of any deficiency, failure or shortcoming as referred to in the Industrial Relations Act, 1991 [NSW], as applied by section 282(3) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1996.

committee oF management’S reSponSibility For the Summary Financial StatementS

The Committee of Management is responsible for the preparation of the summary financial statements.

auditor’S reSponSibility

Our responsibility is to express an opinion on whether the summary financial statements are a fair summary of the audited financial report based on our procedures, which were conducted in accordance with Auditing Standard ASA 810 Engagements to Report on Summary Financial Statements.

Daley Audit

Stephen Milgate


7 April 2020, Wollongong Liability limited by a Scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

A copy of the Financial Report, including the Independent Audit Report, is available to members on the Member Central portal accessed via www.nswnma.asn.au. Members can obtain a hard copy by emailing the General Secretary, NSWNMA at gensec@nswnma.asn.au or calling 1300 367 962. THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 19


Wage freeze: “morally questionable and a major economic mistake” Freezing public sector wages – including those of nurses and midwives – would be economically counterproductive, experts warn.


he state government, through its secretary to the Department of Premier and Cabinet has indicated to Unions NSW that a wage freeze for public sector workers, including nurses and midwives, is imminent when their awards expire on 30 June. NSWNMA General Secretary Brett Holmes described the government’s move in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak as “a disgrace”. “Nurses have been spat on and abused, forced to deal with a lack of Personal Protective Equipment and put themselves, and their families, at risk each shift. “Some of our members have witnessed a par tner become unemployed or have had their shifts reduced. With partners ineligible for welfare, many frontline workers rely on a modest pay increase to help meet rising cost of living pressures. “And now the Treasurer wants to ignore the efforts of frontline workers and unions operating in good faith, by planning a wage freeze for all public sector workers,” he said. The proposed wage freeze is consistent with the ideology of many in the Liberal party and the business sector.

20 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

‘Our research shows these arbitrary pay freezes are both unfair and economically counterproductive.’ — Dr. Jim Stanford, Director of the Centre for Future Work

Last year Mathias Cormann, the federa l g o v e r n m e n t ’s f i na nce m i n i ster, conce de d that low wage growth was “a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture”.

A recent study published by the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute found that freezing pay for essential workers “is not just morally questionable – it’s also a major economic mistake”.

In a recent editorial the Australian Financial Review advocated “tackling some of Australia’s own health sacred cows” in the aftermath of COVID-19.

“Pay freezes are being imposed at the very moment when public sector workers such as healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and socia l ser vice providers a re p er for m i ng v it a l t a sk s, at personal risk to themselves, to support Australians through the pandemic,” said Dr. Jim Stanford, the lead author of the research.

“This means (taking on) the state-wide, rigid, union-negotiated industrial award agreements for public hospital doctors, nurses and other operational staff,” it said.

AUSTERITY HAS BEEN A FAILURE This strategy to suppress wages has been called into question by a growing number of economists who point to the failed austerity policies that followed the last great shock to the world economy – the Global Financial Crisis.

“The motivation for public sector wage austerity seems more ideological than fiscal or economic. Our research shows these arbitrary pay freezes are both unfair and economically counterproductive.   “Public sector wage austerity imposed after the Global Financial


“Heartless and thankless” This letter was sent by RN/RM Jennifer Greed to her local MP (South Coast), Shelley Hancock. As a registered nurse and midwife of 43 years service and local South Coast resident I would like to express my extreme disappointment at the plan to freeze the upcoming 2.5 per cent wage rise of the hardworking and long-suffering nurses and midwives of NSW. It is particularly galling when these are the very people who have gone above and beyond to serve all the members of our community during the COVID-19 health crisis and are not exactly among the highest paid members of our community.

Crisis helped ‘lock in’ historically slow wage growth in the private sector in the years that followed. Since then, wages in Australia have grown at their slowest sustained rate in the postwar era.

Fund have also advocated wage increases to bolster sluggish economic growth.

“Austra lia ca nnot risk letting any COVID19 recession turn into a depression,” he said.

“A gradual lift in wages growth would be a welcome development and is needed for inflation to be sustainably within the two to three per cent target range,” he said on 3 March this year. n

Other powerf ul economic institutions like the Reserve Bank of Australia and the International Monetary

Reser ve Ba n k of Australia governor Philip Lowe has said higher wages would benefit the whole economy.

More information • The Same Mistake Twice: The Self-Defeating Consequences of Public Sector Pay Freezes by Troy Henderson and Dr Jim Stanford • https://www.futurework.org.au/ pay_freezes_recession_to_depression

I would go as far as to suggest it is bordering on heartless and thankless to, on the one hand, say how grateful the government is for our service and with the other hand take from us what is hardly a princely or exorbitant wage increase. This comes on top of a year when our annual registration fee has risen approximately three per cent and no consideration to giving us any exemptions from this payment. As the wife of a local small business owner who has battled through the fires and now this current crisis, to know that my own wages are to be frozen is pretty devastating, I can tell you, and tells me my true worth and those of other hardworking and deserving public servants in our community to our NSW government.

‘(Having) battled through the fires and now this current crisis, to know that my own wages are to be frozen is pretty devastating.’

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 21


“My colleagues are feeling a lot of disappointment with the government” Rebecca Rispoli, Branch Secretary of NSWNMA Bulli Hospital Branch, says a lot of the public are also against the wage freeze.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we didn’t have the opportunity to take any leave, and so for the government to come out and say ‘You won’t get any pay increase’ just feels like a slap in the face. It hardly seems like the time for uncertainty, especially when we see senior government officials and senior public servants getting pay rises that are as much as a first year nurse's entire wage. These guys have got certainty and they are quite comfortable. They are not doing anything on the front line. They are not doing anything that will expose them to the disease. My colleagues are feeling a lot of disappointment with the government. The crisis has hit some nurses personally. My own partner is a casual worker with the council doing bush regeneration and parks. Because they tend to share vehicles, at the beginning of the crisis, shifts were being cancelled. Because of that we were relying on one income for a while. We’ve held a union meeting by Zoom in our branch, and we sent a letter to our local MP, Ryan Park, the Shadow Minister for Health, seeking his support against the wage freeze.

22 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

NSWNMA branch resolution Throughout the state, NSWNMA branches have been debating and voting on the following resolution: This branch of the NSWNMA condemns the NSW government’s plan to freeze the public sector workers’ wages by denying us a pay increase in July 2020. Given the risk of COVID-19 to us and our families, and in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, this shows a profound lack of respect for our professions. Casuals have gone without work, and part timers are missing out on extra shifts. Our family members have lost their jobs. And now we are expected to carry the economy as well as the health burden of COVID-19.

‘Nurses are finding it difficult at the moment.’ We are hearing a lot of public opposition to the wage freeze. My patients, regardless of COVID-19, say we do deserve a lot more credit that we are given. Nurses are finding it difficult at the moment. We have just had an increase to our annual registration fees. It’s hard to understand why we have to have a wage freeze.

Freezing wages, cutting government spending and other austerity measures are proven to prolong recessions. If you want workers to spend, you need to pay them more! Our branch members will bring this damaging and short-sighted plan to our local communities’ attention and seek their help. Members will ask our local MP to demonstrate their commitment to public sector workers’ 2020 wage increase. We call on the NSW Treasurer to:

1. P  ublicly commit that the proposed plan to freeze wages will not go ahead and 2. C  ommit to providing the sustained funding we need to continue to fight this pandemic.


CPD SESSIONS Our face-to-face education program is currently on hold – we will reassess this decision as the COVID19 situation evolves in NSW. In the meantime, to assist members in meeting their CPD obligations, we have developed some of our courses into short video extracts with accompanying resources. We are continuing to investigate other options for delivering CPD education – please keep an eye out for email updates and check our website and Facebook page.

Access FREE NSWNMA CPD sessions videos from:


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Avondale University College Ltd THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 23


Learning from Asia Why has East Asia tackled COVID-19 better than most Western countries?


estern countries dominated a list of 15 countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases by early May.

‘If the poorest and most marginalised within a society are not protected then no one is.’ — Zachary Abuza

China was the only Asian country on the list, compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.


As early as the beginning of April, Jeffrey Sachs, a leading American academic, noted that East Asian countries were “outperforming the United States and Europe in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the fact that the outbreak began in China, to which the rest of East Asia is very closely bound by trade and travel”. Sachs, professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, urged the West to “learn what we can from East Asia as rapidly as possible”. However, in Southeast Asia, there are big differences in case fatality rates – over nine percent in Indonesia, well under one percent in Singapore and, as of the first week of May, zero deaths in Vietnam. The Financial Times of London praised Vietnam as “a model in containing the disease in a country with limited resources but determined leadership”. According to Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington, D.C., the difference between success and failure on COVID-19 is down to four factors: leadership, transparency, legitimacy, and planning and preparedness – including the state of a nation’s public health system. 24 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

Abuza said leaders who took the advice of public health and medical officials have done best. Vietnam and Singapore – at least during its first wave of the pandemic – did particularly well because their governments acted decisively, he said. They quickly implemented public health screening and contact tracing measures, shut down international and domestic travel, and closed nonessential businesses. By contrast, it took the US federal government two months to recommend social distancing rules after the US confirmed its first case on 20 January. Ooi Eng Eong, a professor in emerging infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore, told the ABC his country’s containment measures kicked in as soon as the first case was detected and were scaled accordingly. However, Singapore’s fast initial actions were undermined by a second wave of infections, which spread among its 300,000 poor migrant workers who live in cramped and sub-standard conditions. This was a reminder that “public health is determined by the lowest common denominator,” Abuza commented.

“If the poorest and most marginalised within a society are not protected, then no one is.”

TRANSPARENT COMMUNICATIONS Abuza said governments that admitted the problem early and communicated with citizens in a transparent manner tended to quickly win public confidence. Greater trust led to much greater social compliance when it came to wearing face masks, social distancing, and sheltering in place. I n late Apr i l, U K-ba se d researchers Robyn Klingler-Vidra of


King’s College London and Ba-Linh Tran of the University of Bath reported that Vietnam had managed to avoid any deaths thanks to a three-pronged government strategy: temperature screening and testing, targeted lockdowns and constant communications. The government texts citizens with information on symptoms and protection measures every day and “Vietnam’s cities are adorned with posters that remind citizens of their role in stopping the spread of the virus,” they said.

LEGITIMACY THROUGH RESULTS When it comes to fighting a disease, being a democracy has not necessarily made a government legitimate in the eyes of the public, Abuza argues. “The Philippines and Indonesian governments may have come to power via elections, but their incompetent handling of the pandemic has weakened their legitimacy,” he said. “I ndone sia h a s b e en a spectacular failure despite the fact the president won re-election in mid 2019 with over 55 per cent

of the vote. “ The Vietna mese and Singaporean governments garner their legitimacy via performance, not polls.”

PLANNING AND PREPAREDNESS Recent experience is a major factor in how a government and its citizens respond to a pandemic. The best-performing governments developed a pandemic response plan incorporating lessons learned from other pandemics. A mer ic a n epidem iolo g i s t Gary Slutkin told the ABC that SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2015 were “very instructive” for East Asian countries and meant they were prepared to respond to a serious respiratory pathogen. Jeffrey Sachs noted that the result of East Asia’s greater awareness was “a much higher national alert level throughout the region when China first publicly repor ted an unusua l clutch of pneumonia cases in Wuhan on 31 December”. However, in Europe and the US,

“concerns over SARS, Ebola, Zika, and dengue fever seemed far away”. As well as careful planning, successful Asian governments also stockpiled PPE and maintained the capacity to do rapid and mass testing and contact tracing. And they made sufficient investments in public health. Abuza pointed out t hat governments who starved their public health system of resources fared poorly. He makes a clear distinction between public health and the medical sector. “Vietnam’s medical sector is really quite rudimentary. Yet they have extremely good public health because it is cost effective,” he said. “Prevention is pennies on the dollars of the cure. Testing, contact tracing, thermometers are really cheap compared to ICUs with ventilators. “Viet na m ha s conduc ted well over 200,000 tests, or 2.1 tests per 1000 people. In contrast, as of 19 April, Indonesia had conducted under 50,000 tests, only 0.15 per 1000.” n

‘In Europe and the US, concerns over SARS, Ebola, Zika, and dengue fever seemed far away.’ — Jeffrey Sachs East Asia has coped better with the coronavirus than Western Europe/United States

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 25


Virus menaces our Pacific neighbours COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm the weak healthcare systems of Pacific island nations.


CARE cited data from the INFORM Global Risk Index showing which countries will struggle the most — health-wise and economically — in the long term.

In 2020, Professor Allen points out, thousands of people cross PNG every day in crowded vehicles and aircraft.

The analysis is based on seven indicators related to COVID-19 — exposure to epidemics generally, access to healthcare, underlying health conditions, v ulnerable groups, food insecurity, socialeconom ic v u lnerabi lit y a nd communications capacity.

mallpox came to Papua New Guinea on a German ship in the 1890s.

PNG had few roads yet travellers on foot carried the virus over hundreds of kilometres. Entire villages were devastated, says Australian National University researcher Bryant Allen.

Writing soon after the first COVID-19 case entered PNG on 13 March, Prof. Allen warned that the virus “will follow the flow of people” in PNG. “It will be very difficult to prevent them moving and taking the virus with them,” he said. There were 266 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pacific Island countries and seven deaths from the disease, by 20 April. The aid agency CARE Australia has identified PNG as being the most at-risk country in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, followed by Timor Leste. “This pandemic and its economic repercussions are going to hit the world’s poorest the hardest, and many of these people are in our own corner of the world,” said CARE Australia CEO, Peter Walton. 26 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

Australia and Singapore were identified as being equal-second least at risk out of the 28 countries in the region, following New Zealand. “This is a sober warning of what kind of fate could await our neighbours,” Walton said.

PREGNANT WOMEN AT HIGH RISK In PNG, CARE is worried about what COVID-19 could do to the threadbare health system’s ability to care for other sick people and pregnant women. CARE PNG director, Justine McMahon, said PNG is susceptible to disease outbreaks and “every second birth already takes place without a skilled birth attendant”. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, more women died from obstetric complications than from Ebola itself.

As with PNG, maternal mortality was already extremely high in the West African country, but the epidemic made things even worse as health services were stretched and pregnant women avoided hospitals. In Timor Leste, CARE is working with schools and communities to promote hand-washing and social distancing in support of the government’s COVID-19 strategy. However, many Timorese live in remote, rural areas where at least one in five households does not have access to safe water. “We’re particularly worried about women and girls,” said CARE’s Timor Leste director, Peter Goodfellow. “They’re usually the ones tasked with looking after sick family members, which puts them at greater risk of catching the virus.” By late April, PNG, Fiji, Guam, French Polynesia and New Caledonia all had confirmed cases of COVID-19. “Although borders are now closed across the region, it’s a matter of time before it spreads to other island states,” warned Mat Tinkler, deputy CEO of Save the Children Australia. According to the World Health Organisation, about 40 per cent of the Pacific region’s population of almost 10 million people have been diagnosed with a noncommunicable disease, notably cardiovascular


disease, diabetes and hypertension. Tinkler said they are at grave risk from COVID-19. He said the Solomon Islands, for instance, has only a handful of respirators, no intensive care units and no capability to test for COVID19 in-country. “Even where t his ex ists elsewhere in the region, the limited testing capacity will be quickly overwhelmed,” he added.

MORE AID NEEDED Healthcare services in the Pacif ic are often suppor ted by Au s t r a l i a n a nd o t her international expertise. “Yet, as Australia and other nations have closed their borders, there’s been an exodus of expatriate staff from embassies, aid programs, private firms and NGOs,” he said. “There’s a real risk that the crisis for Australia at home will

overwhelm our appetite to support our Pacific family.” A lt hou g h t he Mor r i s on government has increased overall aid to Pacific island countries the money is mostly devoted to physical infrastructure. As The Lamp reported in its April/May issue, Australia has actually cut spending on Pacific health services by a third in the past five years – despite outbreaks of measles, polio and tuberculosis. Federal Labor’s Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, points out that Pacific Island nations supported Australia during our bushfire crisis, sending members of their defence forces and making donations to communities in a much wealthier nation. Now, he said, some Pacific island nations’ economies – especially those that depend on tourism – face


‘This pandemic and its economic repercussions are going to hit the world’s poorest the hardest, and many of these people are in our own corner of the world.’ — CARE Australia

collapse because of the pandemic. Conroy called on the Morrison government to provide more help to Pacific nations’ hospitals and healthcare facilities, including training, testing and personal protective equipment. He also urged the government to help Pacific countries educate communit ies on prevent ion strategies such as hygiene and social distancing. Conroy said the Australian Government should urgently assist PNG in particular to boost its capacity to test, contain, and treat the virus. “PNG must be regarded as particularly vulnerable to the pandemic given the size of its population, its proximity to countries which have substantial outbreaks, and the lack of resources in its health system,” he said. n

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 27


The American nightmare The US response to the coronavirus has been a disaster of epic proportions.


‘Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment – try getting it yourselves.’

f decisive leadership, clear com municat ions, pla nning and preparedness are the key criteria to successfully combat a pandemic like COVID-19, then the United States has failed miserably on all counts. Despite being the world’s wealthiest country, the United States has failed to cope with the outbreak and has, by far, the highest casualty rate. As The Lamp went to print over 100,000 Americans had died from the virus. President Trump was warned by his economic adviser Peter Navarro at the end of January that the coronavirus had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans and massively disrupt the economy , according to the New York Times. Yet, Trump’s first response was to play down the threat. “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine,” Trump said after the first diagnosis in Washington state. It took another six weeks before Trump authorised the development of an easy-to-use rapid diagnostic test – a crucial measure Asian countries like South Korea and Vietnam had implemented immediately after the outbreak in China was known. Before and after the coronavirus broke out in Wuhan, critical decisions were made that have subsequently hamstrung the US response to the virus. 28 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

— President Donald Trump In 2018, the pandemic unit in the US National Security Council was disbanded. The unit’s role had been to prepare for health emergencies of this precise nature. On 10 February this year Trump proposed a 16 per cent cut to the US Centres of Disease Control and Prevention – a key government agency in a pandemic. In mid-March, as the outbreak gained steam on US soil, US governors urged Trump to mobilise federal resources to provide muchneeded ventilators that were in critically short supply across the country. Trump’s response as reported by The New York Times, “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment – try getting it yourselves.” As the infections and deaths have mounted, Trump has deflected blame by demonising China and the World Health Organization, culminating with his decision to cut US funding to WHO. “The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook

example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, the United States Ebola response coordinator, told The Guardian.

LOSE YOUR JOB, LOSE YOUR HEALTHCARE The nature of access to healthcare and the economic fallout from the pandemic in the United States have added to the crisis. Even before the pandemic, 87 million Americans were uninsured or underinsured. As the outbreak unfolded, more than 26 million lost their jobs in just five weeks. Democrat senator Bernie Sanders says the pandemic has left working class Americans utterly vulnerable. “When you lose your job, you lose your healthcare. As a result, up to 35 million Americans are estimated to see their health coverage disappear in the middle of this COVID-19 nightmare,” Sanders said. “As horror stories circulate of $34,000 coronavirus medical bills, the uninsured remain terrified of going bankrupt just to get tested and treated for coronavirus. In many

cases they just cannot afford to go to a doctor or the hospital.

has left us ill-prepared for the COVID-19 challenge.”

“Four out of five frontline nurses don’t have enough protect ive equipment. In the richest country in the history of the world, nurses caring fo r coronav ir us patients have resor ted to wearing trash bags as makeshift protective care. That is an international embarrassment.”

Gaffney says rather than having a cohesive healthcare system America has “atomized chaos”.


The Financial Times reported that many poorer hospitals are closing at a time of national emergency, not because they are unneeded, but because they are unprofitable.

For many experts, a health system shaped by the logic of the market has been badly exposed by COVID-19. “We have a completely fragmented, privatised health system that continues to fail us,” Adam Gaffney, a pulmonary and critical care doctor told The Financial Times. “We’ve shot ourselves in the foot with a 12-gauge shotgun: year after year of underfunding of our federal, state and local public health agencies

“In the American way of paying for healthcare our hospitals are silos, some rich and some poor, each fending for themselves, locked in market competition.”

“Even with money from a $175 billion bailout, many hospitals are facing critical cash shortages, because they have had to cancel the elective procedures they rely on to make money,” it said. “Some have had to put muchneeded staff on leave, even while the pandemic spreads, because they can’t afford to pay them.”n

‘In the richest country in the history of the world, nurses caring for coronavirus patients have resorted to wearing trash bags as makeshift protective care. That is an international embarrassment.’ — Bernie Sanders

‘Forgotten people’ pay the price The coronavirus has had a disproportionate and deadly impact on African Americans, Native Americans, the homeless and the incarcerated. An Associated Press breakdown of available US data found that: • 33 per cent of those who have died from COVID-19 are African-American. • The Navajo nation – the largest group of Native Americans – has lost more people to coronavirus than 13 US states. • Four of the ten largest-known hotspots of infection have been correctional facilities. • In New York City, which has become the global epicentre of the pandemic, there are 17,000 homeless living in about 100 shelters. Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich says COVID-19 has exposed America’s class divide and its gross inequalities, leaving the country’s “forgotten people” to bear the brunt of the pandemic. “This group includes everyone for whom social distancing is nearly impossible because they are packed into places most Americans don’t see: prisons, jails for undocumented immigrants, camps for migrant workers, Native American reservations, homeless shelters and nursing homes,” he said. THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 29




A o n c pp l l 31 os ica J U e 5 t io n LY PM s 20 20

Scholarships for the academic year 2021

Applications for the Edith Cavell Trust Scholarships are being accepted from 1 May 2020, closing 31 July 2020, for studies being undertaken in the academic year 2021. Members or Associate Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association or the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (NSW Branch) are invited to apply. All grants, awards or loans shall be made to financially assist nurses, midwives, assistants in nursing, assistants in midwifery (including students of those disciplines), and accredited nursing or midwifery organisations, schools and faculties in the furtherance of: (i) accredited nursing or midwifery studies; (ii) such academic research programs as are approved by the Trustees in the theory or practice of nursing or midwifery work; or (iii) clinical nursing education programs at graduate, post-graduate and continuing education professional development level; in accordance with a number of categories.

www.nswnma.asn.au CLICK ON ‘EDUCATION’

Full details of the scholarship categories, how to apply and to obtain the official application form is available from the NSWNMA website. Prior to applying, please ensure you have read the Edith Cavell Trust Scholarship Rules.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SCHOLARSHIP COORDINATOR, THE EDITH CAVELL TRUST 50 O’Dea Avenue, Waterloo NSW 2017 T 1300 367 962 E edithcavell@nswnma.asn.au


Activism • Campaign • Advocacy Roz Norman was an outstanding activist, branch official and Councillor of the NSWNMA and ANMF. In honour of her outstanding contributions, the Roz Norman Scholarship was created to further humanitarian, social or community causes.

The scholarship covers fees for an approved course promoting activism and the development of campaigning skills or public advocacy, including ongoing financial support for reasonable costs associated with campaigning for a period of one year, up to a maximum of $5,000. NSWNMA Branch Officials or highly active members who can demonstrate leadership qualities are encouraged to apply. Successful recipients are required to report back to Committee of Delegates (COD) at the end of the scholarship period.

Applications open 1 July, closing 30 September 2020

To apply go to bit.ly/RozNormanScholarship Roz Scholarship half.indd 1 2020 30Norman | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY

further enquiries: email gensec@nswnma.asn.au METRO: (02) 8595 1234 • RURAL: 1300 367 962 14/4/20 3:15 pm


Scaling down aggression during COVID-19 Clear communication with mental health consumers and reducing boredom is at the heart of an effective strategy.


he COVID-19 outbreak has forced mental health faci lit ie s to suspend patients’ outside leave and restrict visitors, leading to fears that patients might become more aggressive, but one facility has successfully managed the crisis. Peta Kleinig, Nursing Unit Manager at The Chisholm Ross Centre in Goulburn, told The Lamp that keeping consumers informed about infection control measures and engaged in therapeutic activities has been a key part of their strategy to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. “We hold meet ings w it h consumers every morning to explain what we are doing, and they really appreciate what we are doing to keep them safe,” Peta says. “We’ve actually been surprised by what a positive response we’ve got from consumers.” “We have over 100 nurse-led activities per month, and we’ve kept that up with along with activities run by allied health workers, including a peer support worker, social workers, a diversional therapist and a vocational officer.” The 32-bed facility has an internal courtyard open all the time, but it has changed how the backyard, which was also open all the time before COVID-19, is used. “We’ve broken up access to the backyard to blocks of two hours, three times a day, with nursing staff supervision to ensure that we are aware of any issues that may arise in

regards to COVID-19 restrictions. “We do remind consumers constantly about physical distancing. In our low dependency unit people remember to social distance, but in our high dependency area it has been a bit trickier.” W hen the Chisholm Ross Centre had to close to visitors from mid-April, the access to open areas and the daily activities program “helped to take the boredom out of things”, said Peta.

AN INCREASE IN NICOTINE REPLACEMENT The unit has always been a non-smoking unit, in accordance with NSW Health policy, but since COVID-19 staff have increased the use of nicotine replacement for consumers with nicotine habits. “We have not seen an increase in aggression on the unit as the nursing staff have always been consistent in their approach to the non-smoking policy.” From mid-May the centre has allowed visitors to return, with a policy of one visit per patient per day for 30 minutes. “We review that every Friday,” says Peta. As an acute admissions unit, the facility takes admissions from EDs, police, ambulance, courts, and community teams. The centre confirms with the referrer that new arrivals have been screened for COVID-19, and the screening is repeated during the Chisholm Ross

‘We have over 100 nurse-led activities per month.’ — Peta Kleinig admission process. “In the small number of cases where screening indicates the need for testing, consumers are isolated whilst we await the results. We have had four people isolated on the unit, all with negative results.” Rosters have also been amended to accommodate staff with comorbidities or who are older. “For example, we have one nurse who is doing night shifts until the COVID19 crisis is over.  This has minimised her contact with consumers and still allows her to continue working.” n THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 31

COVID-19 Member Assistance As the COVID-19 situation progresses, we want you to know: your union is here for you. We are working hard to support all members. Whether that’s negotiating special leave with your employer, enforcing Work Health and Safety, answering your questions or providing regular up-to-date information. Recently, our ongoing negotiations won NSW Health employees access 20 days of special paid leave for COVID-19. We are also in a range of discussions with multiple private sector and aged care employers around special leave and the adoption of isolation strategies and frameworks similar to the public sector. Many of you might be worried or confused during this time of uncertainty but rest assured, we are here for you and you have our full ongoing support. To ensure we can meet your needs, the NSWNMA will implement improved methods to speed up our response time and adapt new ways of operating to better service our members.

Authorised by B. Holmes, General Secretary, NSWNMA

These are extraordinary times and as health professionals, it’s critical for us to educate and decrease anxiety within the community. Take care of yourself and each other. We are with you every step of the way.

The latest COVID-19 Updates & Guidelines are available from 32 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020


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Invest more in nurses, says WHO The World Health Organization has released its State of the World Nursing 2020 report, which highlights the pivotal role of nurses in global health and the urgent need for investment in the health workforce. The report’s message is clear: governments need to accelerate their investment in nurse education, the creation of nursing jobs, and leadership. WHO said the COVID-19 pandemic “clearly demonstrates” the importance of nurses in global health. “Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. ‘This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.’ WHO found there is a global shortfall of 5.9 million nurses with the greatest gaps found in countries in Africa, South East Asia and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region as well as some parts of Latin America.  International Council of Nurses President, Annette Kennedy said the report showed that “every penny invested in nursing raises the wellbeing of people and families in tangible ways that are clear for everyone to see”. 

‘This report is a stark reminder of the unique role (nurses) play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.’ — Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General


20 per cent of Spanish COVID-19 cases are health workers Spain is, by far, the country with the highest number of coronavirus infections among healthcare workers, according to official data. A report published at the end of April by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) found that 20 per cent of registered coronavirus cases in Spain are healthcare workers, compared with 10 per cent in Italy, another European country hard hit by COVID-19. In the United States, infected healthcare workers represented 3 per cent of total cases, while in China they were 3.8 per cent. The Spanish Health Ministry reported that 35,295 healthcare workers had been infected, using figures up to 21 April. At that point, 37 health workers had died of coronavirus in Spain. In Italy, the second most affected European country, there were just under 18,000 infected healthcare workers, according to Italian health authorities. Leading Spanish daily El Pais estimated that nearly 12,000 employees of aged care centres had also been infected. The Spanish nurses’ union Satse estimates that between 60–65 per cent of affected healthcare workers are nurses. “(Spanish) healthcare professionals went to war without protection,” Daniel López Acuña, a former WHO official who teaches at the Andalusian School of Public Health told El Pais.

Download the report

Satse said it would report this “deplorable situation” to the WHO, the International Labor Organisation and the European Commission.

https://www.who.int/news-room/ detail/07-04-2020-who-and-partnerscall-for-urgent-investment-in-nurses

‘(Spanish) healthcare professionals went to war without protection’ — Daniel López Acuña

34 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020




Bolsonaro prioritises chaos over welfare of Brazilian people

ACTU releases blueprint to rebuild economy

Brazilian president undermines his own government’s COVID-19 strategy by flaunting social distancing measures.

The ACTU’s eight-point plan calls for the creation of two million new secure jobs and the halving of job insecurity to be set as a target for rebuilding the Australian economy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Over Easter, Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, repeatedly contravened his own health ministry’s distancing recommendations by going out for doughnuts, shaking hands with supporters fans and proclaiming “No one will hinder my right to come and go.” During one outing, Bolsonaro was filmed wiping his nose with his hand before shaking an elderly lady’s hand. Since his election last year, Bolsonaro has slashed the public health system’s budget and on 16 April he sacked his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta. Bolsonaro has dismissed the coronavirus as no more than a “gripezinha” (small flu) and suggested that Brazilians have acquired an immunity to disease by “diving into sewers”. Specialists in public health and infectious diseases believe his behaviour is eroding the only measures standing between Brazil and a healthcare disaster. Marcos Lago, an infectious diseases specialist at Rio de Janeiro’s Pedro Ernesto University Hospital, told The Guardian that Bolsonaro’s reckless conduct was confusing people over the need to stay at home. “He’s making a very dangerous bet … that Brazil won’t behave like the US, like England, like Italy. I think that’s an irresponsible bet because there’s a very big chance a catastrophe will happen and the chance of one not happening is very small.”

‘He’s making a very dangerous bet … an irresponsible bet because there’s a very big chance a catastrophe will happen.’

COVID-19 has revealed fault-lines in our economy that must be addressed as we look to rebuild, the ACTU says. It says to drive the post-pandemic rebuild we need to: • Improve the quality and security of jobs by creating two million new permanent jobs and halving the number of insecure jobs • Lift wages and living standards • Strengthen and invest in public and community services that are our first line of defence against ‘shocks’ like COVID-19, bushfires and drought • Support nation-building projects that create decent jobs and set Australia up for a brighter future • Rebuild our domestic skills and training system • Deal with the crisis of climate change • Improve social, health and economic outcomes for people and communities that experience disadvantage • Embrace industry policy and ‘Australian made’. “These eight guiding principles will help shape a rebuilding effort that puts people in more secure jobs, gets wage growth going again, ensures Australia is making what we need, putting our national interests above any vested corporate interests and investing in our communities,” said ACTU President Michele O’Neil. The ACTU plan can be downloaded at: https://www. actu.org.au/media/1449112/rebuilding-jobs-and-oureconomy-post-covid-19.pdf

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 35




Opioids cause 2,200 deaths and cost $15.7 billion a year in Australia In a single year, extra-medical opioid use caused more than 2,200 deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions and resulted in the loss of over 70,000 years of life in Australia, according to researchers at Curtin University. “Extra-medical” opioid use includes both the illegal use of opioids such as heroin, and the misuse of pharmaceutical opioids – that is, when they’re not used as prescribed or intended. The researchers found that the social costs of pharmaceutical opioid misuse and illicit opioid use in Australia over the financial year 2015-16 was an estimated $15.7 billion. An Australian survey (for 2016) showed more than 645,000 people used extra-medical opioids in the previous year. The researchers say this is probably an underestimate. “While Australia has so far avoided the pharmaceutical opioid crisis seen elsewhere, especially in the United States, the number of Australian deaths due to pharmaceutical opioids outstrip those from heroin,” the report says. “In 2017, only 28 per cent of opioid deaths involved illicit opioids alone. Some 63 per cent involved pharmaceutical opioids and the remainder involved both. While most deaths documented in the report were due to drug toxicity (overdose), liver disease and liver cancer due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) accounted for 39 per cent of extra-medical opioid deaths. The report can be downloaded at: http://ndri.curtin.edu.au/NDRI/media/ documents/publications/T277.pdf

‘The number of Australian deaths due to pharmaceutical opioids outstrip those from heroin.’ Quantifying the Social Costs of Pharmaceutical Opioid Misuse & Illicit Opioid Use to Australia in 2015/16

ANNUAL RNational E P O Drug RT Research Institute, Curtin University February 2020


AFR advocates “permanent industrial relations overhaul”, including health Never a group to miss an opportunity in a crisis, the business lobby is dusting off old agendas of IR reform – and nurses and midwives would not be exempt. In an editorial titled: “Crisis opens door for pro-growth agenda at last” the Australian Financial Review urges the Morrison government to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to wade into “supposed political no-go zones such as permanent industrial relations overhaul or by cutting Australia’s internationally uncompetitive 30 per cent company tax rate”. “The COVID-19 shock opens the political door for a policy reset that the Morrison government must now commit to fully walking through,” it said. Health should not be exempt says the AFR: “The focus must also be on sharpening up health spending to be as cost-effective as possible.” While the AFR conceded that the coronavirus gives Australians reasons to appreciate Medicare it says the aftermath requires “tackling some of Australia’s own health sacred cows”. “Making Medicare sustainable may also require taking on the provider capture that plagues public health systems globally. This means the state-wide, rigid, unionnegotiated industrial award agreements for public hospital doctors, nurses and other operational staff,” the AFR editorialised.

‘This means (taking on) the state-wide, rigid, union-negotiated industrial award agreements for public hospital doctors, nurses and other operational staff.’ — Australian Financial Review editorial 36 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020



Biosecurity Act gives health minister power “only found in a dictatorship” When parliament passed the 700-page Biosecurity Act in 2015, its all-encompassing powers passed under the radar. The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, is, in this pandemic moment, the most powerful person in the land. According to George Williams, dean of law at the University of NSW, once the governor-general declares a human biosecurity emergency “the federal health minister is vested with unfettered personal power of a kind normally only found in a dictatorship”. FIONA STANLEY


Urban Aboriginal people at high risk from coronavirus

“The minister may determine ‘any requirement’ and make ‘any direction’ needed to prevent or control the disease. These cannot be disallowed by parliament and override any other law. Failure to comply is liable to five years’ imprisonment.”

The federal government moved to socially isolate remote Aboriginal communities but needs to do more to protect those in urban and rural areas, say experts.

Writing in The Australian Williams describes this as the “whatever-ittakes” clause.

Academics including epidemiologist Fiona Stanley, a former Australian of the Year, have called on the federal government to improve collaborative arrangements with Aboriginal-controlled service organisations in urban areas to better manage risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – 79 per cent – live in urban areas. The academics point out that elderly and those with underlying conditions are most at risk of severe illness and dying from the virus. “Chronic diseases such as respiratory diseases (including asthma), heart and circulatory diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney diseases and some cancers are more common in Indigenous people, and tend to occur at younger ages, than in non-Indigenous people,” they wrote in the online magazine The Conversation. “These diseases, and the living conditions that contribute to them – such as poor nutrition, poor hygiene and lifestyle factors such as smoking – dramatically increase Indigenous people’s risk of being infected with coronavirus and for having more severe symptoms.” While Aboriginal controlled health services are important and successful in providing culturally sensitive and appropriate care they point out that “these health services are not adequately funded or prepared to manage a coronavirus pandemic in urban centres”. “They need more personal protective equipment (including masks). They also need more Aboriginal health workers, community nurses and others for testing and contact tracing.”

“It establishes the health minister as the most powerful figure in the nation with the discretion to do whatever he or she thinks necessary to protect the community from the spread of a disease. “The emergency power does away with niceties such as checks and balances, as well as the notion of personal liberty. It amounts to the community putting its complete faith and trust in the health minister to use their powers wisely.”

‘The emergency power does away with niceties such as ‘Aboriginal Controlled Health Services … checks and balances, are not adequately funded or prepared as well as the notion to manage a coronavirus pandemic in of personal liberty.’ urban centres.’ THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 37



Judith A slow return to a new normal Much has happened in the last two months. As the last embers of the bushfires were being put out, the early dire predictions of COVID-19 were being realised. The world soon became engulfed in a pandemic that for many countries led to staggering levels of economic trauma to families and communities, sadly still accompanied by rates of death and illness unseen since perhaps the Spanish Flu of a century ago. And we will likely never know the true toll of lost lives and damaged futures. And as always, and somewhat befitting for the International Year of Nurses and Midwives, you and all our members have been in the absolute thick of it, providing clinical care and support, despite the dangers and challenges. Thankfully the direct health impact upon nurses and midwives in Australia does not match the truly horrifying incidence of sickness and deaths overseas. Such experiences only galvanise our resolve to ensure that you all have the appropriate PPE for the clinical setting you are working in. This was not always easy or without debate and struggle. We were so lucky to have stifled COVID-19’s spread so successfully. But it could have so easily been different. Despite this success, for many of our casual members in the public health workforce, paradoxically, you have suffered great financial loss and strain. Such outcomes are hard to comprehend and were impossible to predict. As we continue to grapple with our new normal, we must never again allow such experiences to be repeated. Let’s make absolutely sure that we are ready next time and not lurch towards complacency, that we protect the health and financial wellbeing of our workforce, and plan as if it could happen again tomorrow. 38 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020

When it comes to your rights and entitlements at work, NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary Judith Kiejda has the answers.

Clinical Placements As a student nurse, I remain unclear how the public hospital works out where my clinical placements should be during COVID-19. Is there some process they should be using?

no compliance. This approach was adopted to mitigate the risks for elderly residents within aged care at the time of COVID-19 from any respiratory illness. In NSW, some dispensation was made if you or your employer The Association has were actively seeking advocated for students to gain access to the to have safe clinical vaccination but supply placements during issues prevented this COVID-19. The Ministry occurring by 1 May 2020. of Health has confirmed Sent home due to its commitment for the high temperature continuation of clinical I work at a public placements for students, hospital and was and that students will sent home prior to continue to be placed commencing my shift in work locations based because I had a high on a risk assessment temperature. What approach. If the public am I paid? health unit determines This scenario has there are significant been the topic of some risks with students debate. The Ministry is, commencing on however, adamant that certain placements or in someone with a high specific areas, students temperature (or other should be placed in flu-like symptoms) is alternative settings. symptomatic and sick Flu vaccination leave is the applicable in aged care leave entitlement. It is I work in aged conceded by the Ministry care. When did the that this may well be a requirement for a flu higher bar for wellness vaccination start? than previously used but On 17 March 2020, clearly necessary in the the Australian Health midst of a pandemic. The Protection Principal Ministry, however, agrees Committee, which that a health worker advises the National in this situation who Cabinet, recommended receives a negative result that from 1 May 2020, (usually within 24 hours), you must not work at or and is symptom free, visit an aged care facility should be permitted to in you have not had the present for work on their influenza vaccination. next rostered shift. On 24 March a NSW Secondary employment Public Health Order was I work at a nursing made providing for fines home and the manager of up to $11,000 or 6 keeps pressuring me not months imprisonment for to work at other homes.

Is this right? The Association in conjunction with our federal office has confirmed with the Commonwealth Government and Minister for Aged Care that there is no current government policy requiring aged care workers to limit their employment to one site, and further, such an approach is not in keeping with expert advice. What aged care employers should be doing is ensuring that transmission is minimised by the proper screening of workers and visitors, ensuring appropriate infection control is in place, and having PPE available as required. Accruing LSL at Ramsay I work at a hospital operated by Ramsay. I am about to proceed onto parental leave (unpaid). Do I still accrue long service leave during this period? Under Clause 8.7.7 of the Ramsay Health Care Australia Pty Limited and NSW Nurses & Midwives' Association and ANMF NSW Branch Enterprise Agreement 2018¡2020, long service leave is not accrued during periods of unpaid leave (such as Parental Leave and Defence Services Leave). However these periods of authorised unpaid leave do not break your continuity of service.

NURSING RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES The Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing (AJAN) is the peer-reviewed scholarly journal of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF). The mission of AJAN is to provide a forum to showcase and promote a wide variety of original research and scholarly work to inform and empower nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals to improve the health and wellbeing of all communities and to be prepared for the future. COVID-19 – nurses and midwives’ impact on global security

https://www.ajan.com.au/index. php/AJAN/article/view/112/19

achieve gender equality and a more inclusive Australia.

Eckert M • Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 37(2)

The organisational socialisation of new graduate nurses and midwives within three months of their entrance into the health workforce

https://www.ajan.com.au/index. php/AJAN/article/view/102/20

Ohr SO, Holm D, Giles M • Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 37(2)

Heidke P, Madsen WL, Langham EM • Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 37(2)

In the year of the nurse and midwife, a global pandemic is not what we signed up for. Nor were we to predict how the world would be turned upside down with grief and devastation across the globe coupled with lethal economic impact. At the commencement of 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) designated this year as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in recognition of the contribution nurses and midwives make to peoples lives everyday. Nurses and midwives are the very fabric of healthcare and now we have learned in real time that health is an essential component to global security and economic stability. The value that nurses and midwives bring is health security; without them we would see fragile systems dangerously vulnerable to collapse, in the shadow of this global crisis. Now there is extraordinary recognition, but in ways we could have never predicted. These uncertain times provide opportunities to re-evaluate operations and lower former obstacles such as utilisation of innovative technology resulting in the optimisation of telehealth and mobile technology, expedite access to data, utilisation of registries, cloud-based platforms, the value of clinical research networks, artificial intelligence for health initiatives, health algorithms changing how we work and where we work enabling reach to where it is needed. It is not by coincidence the WHO theme for 2020, Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health was decided, with many stories of true altruism, heroic leadership, delivering quality care to those at greatest need across the world, in a world where there is fear and uncertainty, Nurses and midwives continue to provide hope and quality care.

Over the last century, Australia has made significant progress towards achieving gender equality and creating a more inclusive society. The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes these positive steps. However, recognising that some deeply embedded barriers to equality in certain areas of public life remain pervasive, a ‘positive discrimination’ mechanism known as ‘special measures’ was included in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA) to enable individuals and organisations to take steps to correct this inequality. The SDA recognises that some groups have suffered historical disadvantage and do not enjoy their human rights equally with others. The gender pay gap, the underemployment of women, barriers to leadership roles, reduced retirement savings and high rates of sexual harassment at work are examples of this continuing inequality. LGBTI persons continue to experience discrimination at work and experience higher than average rates of violence, harassment and bullying. Increasingly, organisations are seeking to address this inequality by taking proactive measures. The SDA permits individuals and organisations to take special measures for the purpose of achieving substantive equality for disadvantaged groups. These guidelines are intended to assist organisations and individuals to understand and use the special measures provisions in the SDA. They are an important resource for organisations and individuals seeking to take positive steps to

Registered nurses as role models for healthy lifestyles

It is widely accepted that a healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, abstinence from smoking and regular physical exercise are important components of healthy lifestyles and play a significant role in preventing chronic diseases. There is a lack of adherence to healthy lifestyles, at a population level, that has contributed to the increasing prevalence of obesity and smoking-related illnesses. This phenomenon has attracted significant attention at both national and global levels. Nurses are well positioned to contribute to providing health and patient education regarding modifiable health risk factors. However, some studies report that nurses’ personal adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations is decreasing. Furthermore, nurses’ own behaviours and values are believed to impact on the quality and amount of health education they provide to their patients. This paper presents the findings of an exploratory research project that considered the role of registered nurses (RNs) in promoting healthy lifestyles. Underpinning the research is the premise that whilst health education is a recognised standard for practice for Australian RNs, the reality of nursing practice is significantly restricting the ability of nurses to adequately meet this competency expectation. Furthermore, nurses’ own health behaviours may be an inhibiting factor in nurses effectively promoting healthy lifestyles to others. https://www.ajan.com.au/index. php/AJAN/article/view/65/21 THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 39

needed it. did it. loved it. Recruit a new member and go into the draw to win a 5 night Optimal Wellness Program for two at the Golden Door Wellness Retreat & Spa, Hunter Valley valued at over $6,000

THE 2019 – 2020

NSWNMA Member Recruitment scheme prize PRIZE DRAWN 30 JUNE 2020

The perfect place to reset your mind and body and gain a wealth of knowledge to create a healthier, happier and more motivated you. You and a friend will experience: • • • • • •

5 nights’ accommodation in a private villa Personal welcome consultation on arrival All nutritious meals and snacks Diverse selection of group fitness activities, relaxation and mind-body classes Daily program of health education seminars and workshops Use of all the facilities including a heated indoor pool, outdoor pool, tennis courts, gymnasium, indoor activity studios and outdoor relaxation areas • Two luxurious spa treatments including one Classic Facial and one Swedish massage • One wellness consultation with your choice of: wellness coaching, meditation, yoga or standard personal training session • Access to all the spa facilities including steam room, spa bath and relaxation lounges. Guided by a team of health professionals, this program will give you a complete understanding of the art of skilful living and homegrown wellness – a results driven concept the Golden Door team is highly trained in. Optimise your goals to reach new heights in all aspects of your life.

Every member you sign up over the year gives you an entry in the draw! RECRUITERS NOTE: Join online at www.nswnma.asn.au If you refer a member to join online, make sure you ask them to put your name and workplace on the online application form, so you will be entered in the draw.

Conditions apply. Prize must be redeemed by 30 June 2021 and is subject to room availability. Block out dates include all Australian and NZ school holidays and Christmas / New Year period. The Optimal Wellness Program commences Sunday through Friday each week. The prize will be drawn on 30 June 2020. 40 | If THE LAMP JUNE / JULY for 2020 a redraw is required an unclaimed prize it must be held up to 3 months from the original draw date. NSW Permit no: LTPM/20/05518.


test your

Knowledge 1











12 14




15 18 20


21 24



25 27

26 28 29




33 34




ACROSS 1. Mismanagement (17) 9. Resembling tooth (3) 10. Moving rapidly or violently (9) 12. To remove hair by cutting or clipping (5) 13. Belonging to us (3) 14. The gullets (9) 15. An alkaloid used to treat erectile dysfunction (9) 16. Sick (3) 17. An electrically charged atom, group of atoms, or molecule (3) 18. Renal denervation (1.1.1)

20. Epileptiform Activity (1.1) 22. Constrain, stiffen (7.2) 23. To adjust by mutual adaptations (8) 26. An antibacterial drug use to treat pulmonary tuberculosis (10) 28. One billionth of a gram (8) 29. To jab or poke (4) 32. Auris (3) 33. Signal with the hands or nod (9) 34. A silicate mineral that is heat resistant and use in windows for stoves and kerosene heaters (4) 35. Ethnic origin (4)

36. The edges or borders (5) 37. A blockage of blood flow through an artery (8.9) DOWN 1.  Anaemia in which the red blood cells are unusually large (10.7) 2. Pressured speech, tachylalia (10) 3. A gap or space between two teeth (8) 4. Contagions (10) 5. A person whose interest is turned inward to the self (9) 6. Forceful shoving or pushing (9) 7. Repetition (ITERATION) 8. Eutrophication (8.9) 11. Unpleasant to taste (11) 19. Showing different colours when viewed from different directions (8) 21. A substance that has been or is to be adsorbed on a surface (9) 24. Small sacs or pouches (8) 25. Relating to the temple (8) 27. Fibrinous clots formed in a blood vessel or chamber of the heart (7) 30. Ribonucleic acid (1.1.1) 31. Diagnostic Nasal Endoscopy (1.1.1) 36. Light-curing unit (1.1.1) THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 41


For NSWNMA Members

Insurance protection when you need it most The NSWNMA is committed to protecting the interests of nurses and midwives by purchasing a range of insurances to cover members.

Journey Accident Insurance provides cover for members who are injured as a result of an accident while travelling between their home and their regular place of employment. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides legal representation and protection for members when required. Make sure your membership remains financial at all times in order to access the insurance and other benefits provided by the NSWNMA.

Unsure if you are financial?

It’s easy! Ring and check today on 8595 1234 (metro) or 1300 367 962 (rural) Change your payment information online at www.nswnma.asn.au

www.nswnma.asn.au 42 |

IMPORTANT NOTE From 1 December 2018 the insurance benefits have changed as follows: • Journey Accident Insurance: the waiting period for benefits is now 14 days Professional Indemnity Insurance: the limit per claim is now $5 million THE LAMP JUNE /•JULY 2020


book club

All books can be ordered through the publisher or your local bookshop. Call 8595 1234 or 1300 367 962, or email library@nswnma.asn.au for assistance with loans or research. Books are not independently reviewed or reviewed using information supplied by the publishers.





Welcome back to Camino Island, where anything can happen—even a murder in the midst of a hurricane, which might prove to be the perfect crime.



John Grisham: Hodder & Stoughton RRP $32.99: ISBN 9781529342468




Camino Winds


Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation, and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

One of the hurricane’s apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: he has suffered several suspicious blows to the head. Who would want Nelson dead? As Bruce starts to investigate, what he discovers between the lines is more shocking than any of Nelson’s plot twists –and far more dangerous.

Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science Dr Judy Mikovits and Kent Heckenlively: Skyhorse Publishing: RRP $49.99: ISBN 9781510752245

Dr Judy Mikovits is a brilliant researcher shaking up the old boys club of science with her groundbreaking discoveries. And like many women who have trespassed into the world of men, she uncovered decades-old secrets that many would prefer to stay buried. Recounting her nearly four decades in science, including her collaboration of more than thirty-five years with Dr Frank Ruscetti, one of the founders of the field of human retrovirology, this is a behind the scenes look at the issues and egos that will determine the future health of humanity.

Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng

Little, Brown Book Group: RRP $17.25 ISBN: 9780349142920

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.

Big Summer Jennifer Weiner:

Atria Books: RRP $55.99 (Hardcover): ISBN 9781501133510

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favour to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time – she doesn’t even hate/ follow her ex-best friend on social media – so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honour at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless. A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 43

The Edith Cavell Trust is now able to receive non-tax deductable donations/bequests. The Trust – named in honour of Edith Cavell – assists in the advancement of NSW nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing/midwifery through further studies and research, made available through scholarship. The knowledge and expertise gained by nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing/ midwifery, supported by the Edith Cavell Scholarships, is an asset to the care of their patients and clients. Bequests to the Trust continue to support this important work. Edith, a British nurse serving in Belgium in WW1, is a hero to most nurses and midwives. She helped some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. Her actions saw her arrested, accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. NAME ADDRESS


Cavell Edith





PREFERRED METHOD OF PAYMENT Electronic Fund Transfer Account name: Edith Cavell Trust Bank: Commonwealth Bank BSB: 062-017 Account no: 10017908 Credit Card I authorise the Edith Cavell Trust (processed via NSWNMA) to debit my credit card for the amount of Mastercard



Name on Card

Card no

Expiry Date

Signature of Cardholder

Great deals for members at The Good Guys As a valued Union Shopper member you can now get exclusive access to a new online shopping site with The Good Guys Commercial. You will be able to see ‘live’ discounted pricing on the entire The Good Guys range – that’s great deals on over 4,000 products! And you will be able to make your purchases online – saving you time and money.

To register for online access to The Good Guys Commercial website, visit www.unionshopper.com.au/the-good-guys/ or phone 1300 368 117

1300 368 117 unionshopper.com.au 44 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020



at the movies









Girlfriends Season 1 After the dramatic and sudden death of Linda’s husband, Micky, childhood friends Linda (Phyllis Logan), Sue (Miranda Richardson) and Gail (Zoë Wanamaker) find themselves back together again. Each has their own problems to face, from a looming divorce from the husband she still loves and the loss of a high-powered job through age discrimination, to juggling the endless responsibilities of their grandchildren and ageing mothers. As widowed Linda tries to come to terms with being on her own after over 30 years of marriage, she and her girlfriends are horrified to find that this could be the least of her worries. As questions over the circumstances of Micky’s death start to be asked, accusations reveal secrets, deception and doubts that tear at our girlfriends’ friendship. Available in Australia on DVD now. Email The Lamp by 15 June to be in the draw to win one of ten DVDs of Girlfriends Season 1 thanks to Acorn Media. Email your name, membership number, address and telephone number to lamp@nswnma.asn.au for a chance to win!

Schitt’s Creek Series 6 In Series Six, the Roses are achieving success in their careers and personal lives, forcing them all to contemplate their inevitable next steps. But as their pursuits push them closer towards their long-awaited escape, the Roses see how connected their lives have become to the town and its residents. When they finally face the decision to stay or leave, it is much harder than expected. Releasing to Australia on DVD on the 17 June. Email The Lamp by15 June to be in the draw to win one of five DVDs of Schitt’s Creek Series 6 thanks to Acorn Media. Email your name, membership number, address and telephone number to lamp@nswnma.asn.au for a chance to win! THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020 | 45


International Nurses’ Day 2020 International Nurses’ Day was a bitter/sweet moment this year falling as it did in the middle of the world’s worst pandemic in a century which has cost the lives of hundreds of nurses globally. 1/

An ungrateful NSW government also contributed to the sombre side with their announced intention to freeze public sector workers wages – including those of nurses and midwives. On the other hand the World Health Organization has made 2020 “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and has placed nurses and midwives front and centre in its mission to improve global health:


“The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the vital role nurses play. Without nurses and other health workers, we will not win the battle against outbreaks, we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or universal health coverage,” it said on IND, 11 May. Across NSW nurses celebrated the day with customary enthusiasm.

3/ 1/ N epean nurses show off their new-found goodies 2/ N  urses at Warren MPS show their heroic side on International Nurses’ Day 3/ Nurses from Inverell/Moree 4/ Nurses form Inverell/Moree 5/ W  ollongong EPAS share a cuppa on the International Day of the Midwife


5/ 46 | THE LAMP JUNE / JULY 2020


There are some things you shouldn’t handle alone. Contact the NSWNMA if you are: Asked to attend a disciplinary or fact finding interview with your employer Threatened with dismissal Instructed to provide a statement for any reason Contacted by the Health Care Complaints Commission or the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW Contacted by police or solicitors in relation to a Coronial Inquest

Call us on 8595 1234 (metro) or 1300 367 962 (non-metro) Email gensec@nswnma.asn.au www.nswnma.asn.au

Join the health fund that’s all about you.

Nurses & Midwives Health is dedicated to caring for the carers. We’re the only health fund exclusively for nurses, midwives and their families. When you’re a member, you’re part of our family. So that’s why your family members are also welcome to join us.

For your free, side-by-side comparison, and our latest offers, visit nmhealth.com.au call 1300 344 000 Eligibility criteria and conditions apply. Nurses & Midwives Health Pty Ltd ABN 70 611 479 237 NMH-NSWNMA-05/20 Authorised by B. Holmes, General Secretary, New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association, 50 O’Dea Ave, Waterloo NSW 2017

Profile for NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association

Lamp June 2020  

In this edition of the Lamp: COVID-19 demands higher standards of protection; Make PPE in Australia - or miss out; Wage freeze "morally ques...

Lamp June 2020  

In this edition of the Lamp: COVID-19 demands higher standards of protection; Make PPE in Australia - or miss out; Wage freeze "morally ques...