25 Mar 2020

The Marshall Liberal Government is boosting the number of highly skilled nurses and midwives in the health workforce as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Premier Steven Marshall said boosting and upskilling the frontline workforce was part of the State Liberal Government’s plan to prepare South Australia for the impacts of the coronavirus. 

"Just like our firefighters and volunteers were the heroes during the bushfires, our nurses, midwives and clinical staff will be the heroes who are protecting us on the frontline, now and in the weeks and months ahead," Premier Marshall said.

“It is critically important that we boost our frontline defence and give them the support they need to keep South Australians safe and healthy."

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said boosting the number of nurses and midwives is an important part of the State Government’s workforce plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that with the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the rise, the virus will put additional pressure on our health workforce,” Minister Wade said. 

“This is why we are taking the critical steps now to boost the number of nurses and midwives in our health system.

“By fast tracking recruitment and upskilling of nurses and midwives, we are working to ensure we have a nursing and midwifery capacity to meet COVID-19 demand.

“Nurses are often the primary carer for patients, in particular safeguarding our most vulnerable citizens, and they are part of the frontline response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The strategy to increase nursing and midwifery workforce capacity and capability includes:

·     Rapid upskilling of nurses by working with education partners

·     Fast-tracking recruitment of nurses and midwives with a range of skills including intensive care, home care and aged care

·     Supporting student nurses to assist in key COVID-19 response functions, including as part of multi-disciplinary teams in sample collection centres, testing clinics and border screening

·     Developing innovative models of care that allow nurses/midwives to work more flexibly across a number of healthcare sites or through a hospital at home model

·     Supporting nurses/midwives through clinical mentoring and coaching

·     Investigating the capacity of part-time nurses/midwives to increase their hours.

SA Health Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, Adjunct Associate Professor Jenny Hurley, said nurses and midwives are playing an important role in educating our community in the fight to protect and minimise the spread of the virus.

 “These are extraordinary times and South Australia is mobilising every resource we have to ensure our community and our health system is prepared for the long-haul fight against coronavirus,” Minister Wade said.

“Our frontline nurses are doing incredible work in testing, caring for and treating COVID-19 patients.

“The most important thing is that all nurses are in this fight together.

“From intensive care, aged care to the emergency department, our nurses are contributing to protecting our community against this global pandemic. 

“This is about the largest healthcare profession working together to support our community and each other as we face an unprecedented challenge.”