Excess loads plague staff

EXCESS workloads and chronic staff shortages continue to plague Latrobe Valley mental health workers as they prepare to step up their industrial campaign.

These were concerns voiced by Health and Community Services Union state secretary Lloyd Williams last week when he told The Express mental health workers in the Valley were particularly affected by industry shortfalls, including a lack of psychiatrists in the region. “This puts more pressure on mental health services,” he said.

HACSU and the State Government have been locked in battle for more than eight months over enterprise bargaining negotiations, with Mr Williams saying the parties are “still no closer to a real resolution”.

Last week psychiatric nurses, mental health clinicians and support staff across the state voted to continue their campaign, following a 99.2 per cent ‘yes’ vote for ‘protection action ballots’.

HACSU members in the Valley still have a range of non-clinical bans in place, Mr Williams said.

They are also expected to take part in a statewide stopwork on 21 June.

“HACSU members will not settle for an inferior and sub-standard agreement that fails to address the current staffing shortages in in-patient units and untenable workloads in community teams,” Mr Williams said.