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A Message from the Secretary

  • Published September 1, 2020

As we progress from Winter to Spring, it’s time to look back on the enormity of 2020 so far. From bushfires to floods, COVID-19, isolation and anxiety, to health and aged care workers showing the way on the front line of a one in one-hundred -year pandemic – we’ve seen it all. Add to that all of the normal minutiae of our day-to-day lives, and anyone could be forgiven for feeling a little weary!

If you’ve had even a spare moment recently, you’ll have heard a great many slogans being bandied about by media, government and employers. While they can be uplifting, the daily grind of health and aged care workers continues regardless of the current catchphrase. When we hear that ‘we are all in this together’, we can derive some comfort from a reassuring sentiment. But it’s in those quiet times – when we get to individually reflect on our efforts, our fears, our frustrations and anxieties – that we really need to rely on each other. Sometimes this goes beyond well-intentioned rhetoric. NSW has fought the COVID-19 pandemic with guts and determination. Thanks to the immense efforts of health workers, we’ve weathered the initial assault. Now, however, we need to survive the grind of proactive prevention – as opposed to reaction and response. Health and aged care workers across the state, working hand in hand with their communities, have dramatically lowered the risk. However, the threat hasn’t gone away. Carers, Paramedics, Cleaners, Administration, Security, Wardspersons, Diagnostic and Allied Health staff – amongst many others – have worked so hard to achieve the remarkable position NSW is in.

We also need to pay our respects to the Doctors, Nurses, and Public Servants who have traced, tracked and treated the virus in our communities. The work all these professionals do has never been more needed. When you do feel tired or overwhelmed please reach out to your family, colleagues, friends, or your union. We know the pressure you are under and we want to help. The Union has invested $365,000 in a clinical trial that, if successful, will minimise symptoms in health and aged care workers who have contracted COVID-19.

It is hoped that this initiative ‘will relieve some anxiety.’ If we continue to support each other and maintain our focus on COVID-19 as a community, the saying that ‘we are all in this together’ will become a lot more than mere words. HSU members in Public Health, Private Health, Disability Support, Aged Care and Ambulance continue to play their part and – by and large – so does the community. Now we’re asking the government to uphold their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, it seems that we will once again have to fight for the recognition and fair treatment that is owed to us as proud health and aged care workers. But the good news is we’ve done it before. And we’ve never been stronger. In the pages that follow, you’ll read about some of the campaigns the HSU is about to enter into. Make no mistake – these aren’t small campaigns, nor are we making small demands. But we’ve done incredibly well in the last months, and now is not the time to rest on our laurels. We want to make sure that no matter what area of our health, aged care or disability system you work in, you get the respect that you deserve. Once again – thank you for all that you do. I strongly hope that, by the time the next Unified magazine rolls around, we once again have cause to celebrate.