HSU launches statewide campaign to put health funding in the spotlight

  • Published June 15, 2022

Do you feel burnt out? Undervalued? Like a serious pay rise is out of reach?

The NSW State Election is just around the corner, but we still haven’t heard any commitments from the Government to improve the lives of health workers.

Wages are falling behind CPI. Housing, childcare, groceries, petrol – everything is going up except for worker pay. It’s becoming harder and harder to put food on the table. The Government praised your hard work on the front lines of the pandemic, but now they are crying poor.

The NSW Health budget is massive – over $33 billion. So why isn’t there enough to go around?

While health workers’ wages are stalling, health funding is being eaten up by greed and waste. We need a Royal Commission to find out where the health dollar is going and why it isn’t in health workers’ pockets.

Health workers are well aware of systemic understaffing and under resourcing, but it took COVID to expose the gaps in the system for all to see.

The campaign

At the HSU Conference this May, delegates endorsed a resolution to embark on a $1m campaign ahead of the NSW State Election, aimed at improving wages and conditions for health workers across the board.

Wasting no time, the HSU commissioned a major research project aimed at uncovering the gaps and the blockages in the system. We are now embarking on the second phase – a major campaign called Fix NSW Health with advertisements being shown across TV and digital platforms. We need to get the message out to as many people as possible – the NSW health system is under stress and we urgently need to know where the funding is going. Doing the same thing we have been doing and expecting different results will not help.

“We can’t continue down the same path,” said HSU Secretary Gerard Hayes. “Health spending accounts for one third of the total NSW budget and it’s increasing at a rate double that of inflation.

“So why are health workers still struggling under the burden of understaffed departments and deflated pay packets?

“My major concern is that universal health care – the system that has sustained so many Australians – won’t be able to keep up with the demands being placed on it. Too few people are claiming too much of the pie.

We need a Royal Commission now to see where the money is going.”

The Union was successful in having a Royal Commission into health funding adopted as official ALP policy at the NSW Labor Conference in October. Meanwhile, the NSW Minister for Health has indicated he wouldn’t be averse to the idea. We are garnering as much support as possible – health workers must be foremost in the minds of all politicians.

Between now and the election in March, you’ll see a lot of the HSU – on social media, on the news, and in workplaces. Keep an eye out for our ads and share them wherever you can!

The ads

A series of advertisements between 15 and 30 seconds long will be everywhere in the months of December, January and February. You’ll see them in primetime TV slots, on Facebook and Instagram, and even on LinkedIn. This is part of the HSU’s strategy to focus public attention on the importance of our health system ahead of the state election.

The advertisements are sometimes shocking, but with good reason. They show health workers and paramedics at the end of their rope, while patients suffer because of an overstretched system. They also show an individual sliding the proceeds into their pocket.

“I want to be very clear about this – these ads are not attacking people,” said Gerard Hayes. “But we need to get to the bottom of why funding is being poured in at one end, while most health workers barely get a trickle.”

“Wardspersons, cleaners, paramedics, health professionals, staff specialists, admin staff and junior medical officers – they’re all working their fingers to the bone and seeing very little in return. The fact of the matter is that the system is skewed towards some individuals at the top of the tree – and they are doing very nicely out of it.”

The action

At a mass members meeting held on 5 December, members agreed to take action to demand a Royal Commission and restore fairness to our health system. In the coming months members will calling for a Royal Commission to commence as soon as possible.

Watch this space!