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Yesterday, essential workers at Hedland Health Campus in the Pilbara walked off work at 11:00am in the wake of chronic understaffing, which has resulted in an unsafe workplace.

The campus, which is run by WA Country Health Service, has been plagued with issues since before the COVID-19 pandemic told hold in Australia, according to the workers on site.

The 30-minute action that patient service attendants, cleaners, enrolled nurses, nursing assistants and kitchen staff performed was designed to have minimal impact on patient care.

United Workers Union Public Sector Coordinator Kevin Sneddon said that the issues that were raised by the workers have been ignored by management.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put strain on the WA health industry across the State but the issues are more acute in the regions which fall under the WA Country Health Service remit,” Sneddon said.

“Workers at regional hospitals, like Hedland Health campus, are reporting high levels of fatigue and burn-out as a result of working excessive hours with reduced staffing levels.

“I have been told that the turnover at Hedland Health campus is exceptionally high and that vacant positions have not been filled, in the meantime there are casual staff at the site who are begging for more hours and permanency.

“It is only a matter of time before a worker or patient at the hospital is injured or worse.

“Workers are now being forced to take visible action after requests for consultation and for management to address issues have been routinely ignored.

“These workers have been in the frontline in the fight against COVID and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by management.

“The first step to attracting and retaining workers particularly in the Pilbara is to provide a safe and respectful workplace, which is unfortunately not happening at Hedland.”

Workers congregated at the Hedland Health Campus entryway between 11:00am and 11:30am. The workers have committed to taking more action if their concerns are not addressed.