1 in 5 staff at major hospital off during Omicron wave

Doctors were asked to cancel leave and safe care patient ratios were breached because of the shortfall, a Victorian inquiry hears

At the peak of the Omicron wave, one in five health workers at a major Melbourne hospital were furloughed, forcing management to ask other staff to delay or cancel leave — an inquiry has been told. 

Alfred Health chief executive Andrew Way told Victoria's Pandemic Declaration Accountability and Oversight Committee that 1700 Alfred health workers were furloughed as either confirmed COVID-19 cases or close contacts.

This represented almost 20% of the organisation's total workforce, and staff were asked to return from or delay leave to ease the burden.

"We did