Be proud of health workers—and care for the vulnerable, say health chiefs

Thursday, August 6, 2020

‘We have much to be proud of in the way our health services and clinicians have been able to provide compassionate and high-quality care during the pandemic’, says newly-appointed Chair of the Board of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), Hon. Jillian Skinner.

Mrs Skinner, a former NSW Health Minister, is featured in a COVID-themed edition of the AHHA’s member magazine, The Health Advocate (THA), released today.

‘The August 2020 edition highlights the work of outstanding leaders, caring clinicians, and innovative thinkers across the Australian health system who have done so much to keep Australia safe and well cared for’, Mrs Skinner said.  

AHHA Chief Executive, Alison Verhoeven says all who are playing a part, big or small, in the response to the pandemic, deserve the community’s wholehearted support.

The Health Advocate, features practice managers who have worked on hand hygiene initiatives, primary care leaders and Primary Health Networks who have rapidly established respiratory clinics, and the COVID-related work of Aboriginal community leaders, and clinicians and staff of public pathology services and public hospitals.

‘The magazine also features researchers who have demonstrated their ability to be innovative and transformative, to change the way they work in order to be of most benefit to the community in a challenging and rapidly changing health environment.

‘The strength of our health system has placed us in a fortunate position compared with many countries—we are proud to highlight these stories in THA this month.

‘However, as Australia experiences the challenges of the current upsurge in COVID-19 cases, we are becoming more aware of the impact on some vulnerable groups—for example older people, people who are in unstable employment, and those living in crowded housing conditions.

‘As some of our THA August edition authors note, the post-COVID response will need to prioritise health equity.

‘Emerging issues relating to mental health, family violence, and drug and alcohol issues as a result of extended lockdown periods, unemployment and poverty will need to feature more prominently in the health system’s response to the pandemic.  

‘The problems which will emerge as a result of the significant reduction in elective surgery, and treatment for patients with chronic disease, as well as the possible under-diagnosis of serious illnesses, such as cancers, will need to be addressed. 

‘This will require the same type of commitment, funding, disruptive thinking and ingenuity we have seen demonstrated during the pandemic.

‘At AHHA, we stand behind the people and services who are keeping us safe during such a challenging time’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘We thank and honour them for their service. And we look forward to continuing to share their stories, as they continue their work to keep us safe and healthy.’


The Health Advocate August 2020 edition is available here

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, Primary Health Networks, and community and primary healthcare services.

Media enquiries: Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, AHHA, 0403 282 501