“We are at breaking point” — The experiences of healthcare workers during the pandemic


The Daily Aus recently asked its audience to share stories from working in Australia’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 300 people responded, highlighting significant staffing shortages, pressures on available beds, and working alongside colleagues who are close contacts. 

“Over the weekend, I was in charge of 350 unwell kids. Mistakes will happen… The biggest risk is having no staff to care for sick children. We know how to care for them. But when we have no beds and staff to operate those beds, and we can’t turn people away. We simply do the best we can. And the best we can means rushing, mistakes and errors.” — Doctor, Queensland

“Working as a paramedic in Melbourne has been soul-destroying. It has changed me.” — Paramedic, Victoria

“Short-staffed to point that it’s unsafe – 40 mums plus babies, 2 midwives, 1 assistant nurse unit manager and 1 enrolled nurse.” — Midwife, Victoria

“18-hour shifts, a lot of abuse, no capacity in the emergency department, coming to work despite being a close contact.” — Emergency Registered Nurse, NSW

“It’s hot, painful and tiring work. It’s scary thinking about the month ahead.” — ICU Nurse, Queensland

“In ED – we’re struggling. No staff, no beds, COVID everywhere. We’re actually starting to isolate the non-COVID patients and leave the COVID patients out.” — Emergency Registered Nurse, NSW

“I’ve been made to work after being close contacts and taking lunch breaks in fire escapes.” — Social worker, Victoria

“I’m a physio student. We’ve been recruited to give vaccines to get the nurses back in the hospital.” — Physio student, NSW 

“A social worker working with vulnerable kids in group homes. We have the majority of our staff in iso and the little staff we do have are doing ridiculous hours.” — Social worker, Sydney

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