Recovery payments needed for health workers: Trish Doyle MP

Harrowing stories from health care workers struggling to deal with COVID cases have led Blue Mountains MP, Trish Doyle, to implore the state government to offer recovery payments and to give permanent jobs to newly graduated paramedics.

Ms Doyle received first-hand accounts from a senior paramedic and a registered nurse, both of whom are battling to cope with unsustainable workloads, long hours, staff shortages and seriously ill patients.

She was so disturbed at the stories she sent copies to the premier, Dominic Perrottet, and health minister, Brad Hazzard, imploring them to take action.

The paramedic wrote to Ms Doyle after a 22-hour shift spent transferring COVID patients to hospitals that "looked like war zones".

"There's patients lined up in beds in the hall way on oxygen, there was 12 ambulances in the bay, TWELVE! All of them except one had a patient inside because ED was packed."

Trish Doyle: Has called on the state government to employ more paramedics quickly and to consider extra payments to health workers.

Trish Doyle: Has called on the state government to employ more paramedics quickly and to consider extra payments to health workers.

"The hospitals are not coping, people are literally walking out on the job."

She said one paramedic had worked for 40 hours straight.

"They're exhausted, they're in full PPE in 30+ temps and that shit does not let you breathe, you sweat like nothing else in it, even with air con.

"If you're doing that for hours on end, for days on end you just get burnt out. It's exhausting and I can totally understand why people are just calling it quits.

"There's no help from NSW Health, they say we're coping but we're not. Everyone's understaffed and underpaid."

The nurse, who works in Nepean ICU, wrote that the staff were exhausted after two years of overtime, extra shifts, minimal breaks and sacrificing leave.

Their PPE hurts their faces, noses and ears. They can't drink water or scratch. They have had to place iPads on the beds of dying patients so families can see their final moments.

As a senior nurse, she has had to supervise juniors or deploy staff to look after critical patients who would normally never be allocated to them. To add insult to injury, a pay rise was denied them.

"They said they could not afford it. It was a lousy two per cent. They also denied us a bonus for shifts in COVID areas."

"We all feel undervalued, angry and slapped in the face. And the expectation that we smile, stay strong and soldier on, yet again?"

Ms Doyle called on the Liberal ministers to give permanent jobs to recently graduated paramedics to ease the burden on their exhausted colleagues.

She also advocated recovery payments to health workers, to "recognise their gruelling work ... and to reward these incredible professionals for their work beyond the call of duty".