Additional supports for frontline health and disability workers announced on International Nurses Day

  • Hon Dr David Clark
  • Temporary accommodation for health and disability workers living with a vulnerable person
  • Phone counselling service for frontline workers
  • 0800 COVID-19 clinical advice number

Three initiatives to support the health and disability workforce through accommodation, mental health support and access to specialist clinical advice on COVID-19 were announced on International Nurses Day today by Health Minister David Clark.

“This year, the work of our Nurses has been particularly visible with Nurses making up the majority of the workforce tracing close contacts and caring for COVID-19 patients.

“Thank you for all the work that you do each and every day, and thank you again for the work you’ve done during this global pandemic,” David Clark said.

Today’s announcement outlined a $10 million ring-fenced accommodation fund for health and disability workers who need to stay away from their homes during COVID-19 because they have vulnerable people at home. They can also access the fund if they have been deployed to other parts of the country to backfill workers or to provide additional support.

“We want to help you keep your families safe. This fund will help protect vulnerable loved ones, and help staff to continue delivering essential health and disability services. 

“I’m also pleased to say we have set up a phone counselling service for health staff who need extra mental health support during this stressful time. I really encourage our health workers who are looking for some extra support to give this service a call,” David Clark said.

A COVID-19 clinical advice line for community health providers including general practice nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, pharmacists, midwives and aged residential care providers was also announced today.

“This dedicated number ensures that community clinical staff can access advice directly from their peers.

“Every frontline health and support worker, whether they’re in primary health or community, at a hospital, in an aged care facility, Maori or Pacific provider, NGO or in any other organisation delivering essential services are appreciated for their efforts and we want to support them,” said David Clark.

Editor’s notes

  • Details of the accommodation programme can be found here
  • The phone counselling service will be funded for nine months
  • A GP will be available at all times on the clinical advice line to provide medical advice as well as access to additional clinical support.