Casual nurses out of work in SA

Casual nurses in SA have lost work, while their colleagues seek clarity on using protective gear.
Casual nurses in SA have lost work, while their colleagues seek clarity on using protective gear.

Casual nurses in South Australian public hospitals who have had their shifts cut or lost their jobs are calling on the state government to allow them to help with the COVID-19 fight.

Following the ban of non-urgent elective surgeries in public hospitals, hundred of casual nurses have been left without work.

They are ineligible to access government income subsidies as they are government employees.

State parliament resumes on Tuesday with the opposition calling for those nurses to be deployed in roles to help stop the spread of the virus, like contact tracing or phone calling vulnerable residents.

Opposition Health spokesman Chris Picton said nurses are staring down unemployment at a time when they are needed most.

"We can't leave our nursing heroes unable to pay their bills and forced onto Centrelink queues," he said.

"We must do everything we can to look after our health heroes, just as they look after us."

The state's Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation chief Elizabeth Dabars said the branch was also calling on SA Health to provide guidance on PPE usage for nurses, midwives and personal care workers after weeks of requests.

'We have lost patience waiting for the evidence-based guidance," Ms Dabars said.

"In the absence of available guidelines from your employer, ANMF is directing members to use the level of PPE that they feel is appropriate for the situation and assures their safety."

Australian Associated Press