By Juliano Oliveira
Queensland’s frontline health workers will be granted with free accommodation if they want to self-isolate.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $17.5 million plan to assist health workers to protect their families if the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.
“This is a back-up plan only, one we hope we never have to use,” The Premier said.
“If COVID-19 cases rise significantly in Queensland we need to consider how we can not only protect our clinicians on the frontline, but also their families.
“If needed, my government will pay for health workers who are at the highest risk of COVID-19 to self-isolate in hotels or apartments.
“This is about providing support to our health heroes on the frontline.”
“This would allow health workers who provide care direct to infected patients to keep their families or housemates safe, without the financial burden of paying for alternative accommodation.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said Queensland Health had been investigating the option as part of their contingency planning.
“We’re talking about the doctors, nurses and support staff who provide care direct to infected patients, be it in intensive care units or dedicated COVID-19 wards,” Mr Miles said.
“The overwhelming number of our staff are in no greater risk of catching coronavirus at work than they are in the general community.
“This would be entirely voluntary but would give these frontline heroes some extra comfort that they were reducing the risk to their families.”
Details of the plan include:
- $17.5 million over six months to cover accommodation,
- Open to staff working in Intensive Care Units and dedicated COVID-19 wards,
- Money provided to HHS to ensure staff could be accommodated as close to home as possible,
- The program would be reassessed in six months.
Mr Miles said the plan will financially guarantee that Hospitals and Health Services find suitable accommodation close to where their health workers live.
“Most of Queensland’s hotels are suffering very low occupancy rates so there is plenty of room. This investment would be also an enormous help to local economies.
“This is a crisis that requires us to be innovative in our use of resources and creative in our approach to solving problems.”