The pandemic has shown our health care systems are incredibly fragile. The system always seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse.
The glue that has held together the health care system is an incredibly resilient workforce who show up day after day to provide the best care possible.
They have faced long hours, hot and uncomfortable personal protective equipment, increased patient demand and time away from loved ones.
This week the ACT government announced the end of mandatory quarantine for household contacts of positive-COVID cases.
This move gave the strongest signal yet, on a local level, that the pandemic is nearing its end. But as life returns to normal, our health care workers in Canberra are under more pressure than they have been in the previous two years.
A "perfect storm" has descended upon Canberra's already overwhelmed health care system.
Staffing shortages continue to plague the system and this is being amplified by workers continuing to catch COVID-19.
There has also been a surge in respiratory illnesses and it appears people are not seeking treatment until their illness is serious and this has resulted in longer hospitalisation times.
A shortage of general practitioners in Canberra has also no doubt contributed to this.
As The Canberra Times reported this week, new patients at multiple medical practices in the capital are waiting weeks for appointments.
Leaders in the industry have claimed general practice is "on the precipice of completely falling apart" as fewer people take up the profession due to comparatively low pay and a lack of entitlements.
A risk-averse population is also probably hesitant to attend health care facilities, which would further delay a diagnosis.
There were similar pressures on the Canberra's health system during the summer Omicron peak. A surge in cases and a demand for testing completely buckled the system.
Canberra Health Services say staff being on leave has contributed to the pressure in recent weeks but staffing shortages have existed long before this pandemic.
Health workers should be able to go on leave and not have the system completely fall apart.
There is just no slack in the system to allow for leave and illnesses - this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Health authorities and governments need to look for better, longer-term solutions so that pressure can be eased for health care workers.
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