State government warned of healthworker exodus

State governments are being warned they risk a mass departure of burnt-out public health workers as New South Wales and Victoria brace for a surge in COVID-19 hospitalisations.

A new study into the experiences of frontline employees during last year’s second wave conducted by Monash University and the Royal Melbourne Hospital has revealed an alarming rise in unpaid hours and mental illness.

The study surveyed 7,846 staff and almost half of them reported a rise in their workload last year while 21.5 per cent revealed they worked more unpaid hours.

A large number of staff said they were redeployed or took on new roles despite limited confidence and two-thirds of the group also suffered mental health issues.