GOVERNMENT is to expend just under $75 million across two financial years on staff welfare, following an increase in the cases of front-line workers experiencing burnout as the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic continues.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton made the announcement in Parliament yesterday, following a slew of complaints from medical practitioners about staff shortage at public health facilities and extended work hours.

Tufton said $37 million will be spent in this financial year and an additional $37 million is to be requested in the 2021/22 financial year, and that this is to provide support to preserve the well-being of health care and front-line workers.

The minister said for the past few weeks, the health and wellness ministry has embarked on a programme to “bolster staff well-being”, as they are significantly affected by the pandemic.

“We’ve also been experiencing significant and increasing burnout of the critical front-line workers, primarily the health care staff, but not exclusive to them. These are individuals who have been working at this for many hours each day since the start of this year. It has been an ongoing effort and a very stressful environment to work in, and we’re seeing increasing evidence of burnout,” said Tufton.

The programme, to be overseen by the health ministry, is expected to have five components, Tufton said, which will include human resource management, staff engagement and communication, rest and relaxation, COVID support, and wellness.

He said each component will be supported through strong collaboration with the private sector, to support the implementation of the intervention.

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