Campaign launched

Round table: Latrobe Health Assembly chair Tanya Rong, Head of Avon Jenna Hooper, Latrobe Regional Health chief executive officer Don McRae and Head of Emergency Anne Calletti enjoy a hot beverage. photograph alyssa fritzlaff

Alyssa Fritzlaff

LATROBE Valley frontline healthcare workers are being supported by the community through a new campaign.

Launched by Latrobe Health Assembly in partnership with Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH),
Gippsland Primary Health Network, Latrobe Community Health Service and Maryvale Private Hospital, ‘Support a Healthcare Worker’ is an online platform designed to brighten up the day of local healthcare workers.

Community members can either buy a healthcare worker a coffee online, spend a few minutes writing a free thoughtful message, or do both.

Latrobe Health Assembly chair Tanya Rong said it is important that healthcare workers
are supported by the community during such challenging times.

“We can’t change their workload, but we can brighten up their day with a free coffee from our community and a supportive message,” she said.

“Healthcare workers have been stretched to the limit over the last two years, working extended shifts in full PPE, and dealing with stressful situations on a daily basis.”

Ms Rong is not only Latrobe Health Assembly’s Chair, but has also experienced first-hand what healthcare workers are going through in her role as a Critical Care Nurse.

“I have signed up to help where I can,” she said.

“I’m there to support my colleagues and I am wanting to do whatever we can to support them as a community.”

LRH chief executive officer Don McRae has voiced his support of the new initiative.

“It’s been a long couple of years that they’ve been looking after COVID patients and having
the additional work load on them,” he said.

“Generally the morale is really good, but the staff are a little fatigued.

“It’s really important that the staff feel the support from the community because it has been tough, and we’ve had to make some tough calls with regards to restricting visitors… and the public have been on a whole really understanding of restrictions we’ve had to put in place.”

Mr McRae said extra pressures and changing community attitudes toward healthcare workers during the pandemic have contributed to an “an emotional rollercoaster” for staff.

At the height of the most recent wave, one to two per cent of the LRH’s almost 2300 staff were unable to work.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re talking about 24 hour, seven days a week rosters it puts a lot of pressure on the people that were still here,” Mr McRae said.

Ms Rong explained that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

“It’s just to show that the community is thinking of, and caring, about the healthcare workers,” she said.

“It’s just a little show of gratitude and kindness, but it can go such a long way.”

Gippsland PHN acting chief executive officer Angela Jacob welcomed the campaign.

“We can never repay them for their commitment to keeping our community safe however thank you goes a long way to showing how much they are appreciated,” Ms Jacob said.

Some kind messages have already been left by supporters on the Support a Healthcare Worker website.

The messages thank healthcare workers at various establishments around the Valley for their efforts over the last two years.

For more information on ‘Support a Healthcare Worker’ you can visit