Emergency Briefing - Now Online

03-Apr-2020


Thanks to all members who joined us for our first virtual mass member meeting via Zoom on Wednesday. It was a great opportunity for over 300 members to get together, hear directly from the Hon Brad Hazzard and Dr Kerrie Chant, and share concerns with the Minister and ASMOF directly.For those who were unable to make it, a recording of the meeting is now online in the members only section of our website here: http://www.asmofnsw.org.au/members-only-media.

The Minister has committed to attending regular meeting with ASMOF members into the future and we hope all our members can join us for these valuable meetings as the situation unfolds rapidly.

The chat was very active during the meeting and we received 70+ questions we are endeavouring to have answered for you.

One of the burning questions was around PPE stocks which ASMOF continues to advocate on. NSW Health says they are monitoring the critical PPE stock levels, in particular our P2 masks. Furthermore they they are collaborating with other government agencies to access the National Medical Stockpile and are working to secure and move stock into NSW to meet future needs. Dr Chant reiterated that staff are not to undertake or be required to undertake tasks requiring PPE if the PPE is not available for use.

Some of the questions are addressed in our online FAQ: https://asmofcovid19.org.au/

Here are a few of the questions from our members:

Q. As a Staff Specialist, I may end up working many additional hours over coming weeks. Will there be any financial compensation for putting ourselves in harms way for many more hours than usual? Those doing telehealth can generate (additional) income with the new Medicare numbers, but what about Staff Specialists on the frontline?

A. ASMOF is currently negotiating arrangements with the Ministry to ensure the staff specialists are paid overtime where a staff specialist agrees to be rostered for additional shifts or hours beyond 40 ordinary hours per week during the pandemic.

Q. is there scope for an accommodation allowance for those working in high risk areas to protect their families and loved ones.

We have asked the Ministry this afternoon for alternative accommodation or an accommodation allowance to be provided for doctors working in high risk areas. We will keep you updated on the outcome.

Q. I am aged 65 and I am worried to contract COVID in ICU as a Specialist. What are the provisions for me to remain safe and Can I be excused to be working in COVID isolated areas of ICU?

A. Any member who is compromised should not be working in a high-risk area. Your employer must manage the risk.

If you believe that you fall into this category you should raise this with management and request that they make reasonable adjustments which removes you from the risk. This could be an alternative position within the hospital, or it could be working from home.

If you believe management has not taken appropriate steps to manage this risk then contact ASMOF at allocation@asmof.org.au.

Q. Shouldn't HCW working in covid wards have a pay increase? I hear people working for railway companies etc are being paid extra when dealing directly with people

The question of hazard pay has been raised by a number of members and we are raising this with the Ministry. However If we do go down that path we would need to ensure the employer does not try and leverage this as a “trade-off” against WHS rights.