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24th March HACSU Daily Update


HACSU Daily Updates

Today Paul Healey, State Secretary and Kate Marshall, Assistant State Secretary met with Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos regarding the current situation facing HACSU members in light of COVID-19. The following was discussed and is important for you to be aware of:


COVID-19 Testing:

  • The process for healthcare and disability workers to be tested for the virus will be improved, providing easier access to tests
  • As a healthcare or disability worker, the Minister has advised that you are the highest priority for testing and the criteria for testing is less strict; you can also be tested if you are exhibiting ANY ONE symptom (respiratory illness or fever)
  • Similarly, any person who identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and any person who is currently an inpatient in a hospital who has developed symptoms since being in hospital can be tested


COVID-19 Leave Provisions:

  • If you believe you have come into contact with COVID-19, you should self-isolate to protect others in the community; you should also be tested as soon as possible if you meet the above criteria
  • While you are awaiting your test result, you can access special leave
  • If your test returns a positive result OR you are unwell, you will need to access sick leave; please keep in contact with your employer and advise them of your result as soon as possible


Visitors of residents/consumers:

  • Hospital inpatients and group home residents are allowed one visit per day for two hours, with no more than two people
  • There are to be no more than two people with a patient/consumer/client/resident in the room at any given time at all HACSU members’ workplaces, including visitors who are to be reminded of social distancing (2 metres) 


Shopping for Group Homes:

  • If you are shopping for groceries for a disability group home, you will be provided special online access to supermarket shopping
  • Further information about accessing these services will be provided to your employer soon


All HACSU Members’ Worksites:

  • Your safety is paramount; it is never OK for you to be abused at work - if this is happening to you, please contact HACSU immediately on 1300 651 931
  • It has been suggested that you may want to change your clothes once you arrive at work, and then change back once it is time for you to return home, as a further protective measure
  • Currently, no changes should be made through Change Impact Statements, unless the change is almost complete, and it would cause disruption to cease works
  • The only dental work that will be allowed will be urgent dental work – this is also the case for those who reside in disability group homes


First Aid & CPR for Disability Workers:

  • All First Aid and CPR training is currently on hold
  • If your certification expired in 2020, until further notice, you will be allowed to continue to work in light of these exceptional circumstances
  • For new disability support workers, you must only work on shift with another worker who holds a certification, whether their certification be current or expired


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • The Minister has advised the Government will give priority of personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers in Emergency Departments, as these workers are the most likely to be in direct and frequent contact with this virus
  • 1 Million masks have arrived in Victoria today; another million will arrive next week, with more orders to arrive in the coming weeks – we have been assured by the Minister that no expense will be spared with regard to PPE, as well as access to ventilators  


New Provisions in Hospitals:

  • There will be checkpoints set up at hospital entries checking temperatures of all visitors, potential patients and workers and you will be asked why you are present at the hospital; simply advise you are a worker at the hospital
  • HACSU Officials have asked for all parking fees to be waived for HACSU members and other workers at hospitals and disability houses, to allow for further social distancing measures; we will await a response from the Minister


For Parents:

  • The Minister’s Office, in collaboration with HACSU officials are working with the Department of Education to determine childcare/schooling arrangement for children whose parents are healthcare and disability workers (as well as other essential workers)
  • For parents, regarding school holidays, if leave needs to be taken during the normal school holidays (as was prescribed prior to COVID-19) carer’s leave can be taken; the Government is exploring alternative options given this isn’t a normal school holiday period


Helping the Community - Volunteering:

  • Any HACSU member who wants to volunteer their time in either mental health, AOD or disability, where you have prior experience in any of those areas: please contact the HACSU Office, even if your registration or first aid certificate is out of date
  • It is important to be a HACSU member at this time, even if you have lost your job; please call us to discuss your circumstances if you are seeking to resign your HACSU membership as a result of loss of income on 1300 651 931


In summary, HACSU members voices are being heard by the Government; your concerns are being raised and we are working very hard to manage risks to you and the people you support at work. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns and continue to check in with our daily updates. We’re with you.



In unity,