Australia's nurses and midwives are heroes.
They have been on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic, keeping people safe and supported at a time of incredible anxiety.
Yet in Canberra's health system, it appears they are still not being treated well enough.
They are so overloaded with work they are forced to neglect some of their patients' care, according to the front-page story of today's The Sunday Canberra Times, and so distressed that they are considering taking sick leave when the system barely has capacity for that.
Our health authorities, as they did in this instance, consistently point to the fact that they are working to implement recommendations that came out of an independent review into the ACT health system's workplace culturein 2019.
The territory government has said that, as at mid-Maythis year, seven out of 20 recommendations from that review had been put into action. But doesn't this number go to show the ACT's health workers are still being undervalued?
Today's story was based on an Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation survey of 110 nurses and midwives who work in the ACT's public health system.
They were surveyed about mid-May, when those seven recommendations had been implemented.
Federation ACT branch secretary Matthew Daniel said a large number of nurses and midwives had responded to the survey within 24 hours of receiving it.
"There is a lot of feeling out there around what's going on in this current situation," Mr Daniel told The Sunday Canberra Times.
This was the first time the federation had run this type of survey, which focused on "psychosocial risk and stress". While it had already gone out to six areas across Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public, it would also be rolled out across the remainder of those organisations.
When those additional results come back, it's vital we also take those into account, and rally behind our nurses and midwives who do so much for the Canberra community.
ACT opposition health spokeswoman Giulia Jones last month called on the territory government to implement the remaining recommendations from the culture review in the next 200 days.
She said she wanted to see evidence of "tangible change" for staff on the ground.
Mr Daniel said there was "no question" there were "a range of reports" about healthcare workers' conditions in the ACT, but the problem was that authorities and the sector needed to be more proactive about the issues.
"We can't leave nurses and midwives shattered and then pick up the pieces, we should be trying to manage these situations so we don't get these sorts of results," he said.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact those culture review recommendations will have on ACT health workers, but in the interim, we can't just let our heroes languish in distress.
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