It is fundamentally wrong to conflate free antigen tests with nurses pay

17 November 2021

Labour Senator and health committee member Annie Hoey has hit out at the Minister for Health for conflating the cost of providing free antigen tests with paying nurses.

Senator Hoey said:

“I was shocked to hear the Minister conflate the cost of antigen tests with paying nurses. It is a strawman argument designed to elicit sympathy because there is such overwhelming support for our over-working and under-paid nurses. It is repugnant.

“Firstly, this is the Minister in charge of literally paying student nurses and midwives beans, if they’re getting anything at all.

“Secondly, we should surely be investing in preventative care in order to avoid an increase in hospitalisation numbers? Without investing in basic things to tackle the spread of Covid we will just end up having to spend more money on agency staff and nurses. This only leaves us with an even more overwhelmed health system. That is bad economics whatever way you cut it.

“The Minister should clarify his remarks. Can nurses expect a pay rise is antigen tests aren’t provided free of charge? These are political decisions but have real life implications. I call on the Minister to detail just how free antigen tests will impact on nurses pay.”

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