Virus deaths mount amid hospitals crisis

·2-min read

Australia has recorded 70 additional COVID-19 deaths, the highest tally in more than a fortnight.

However, 13 of the total are deaths that occurred in South Australia between January and May but were previously unreported. They included a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s.

More than 25,000 new cases were announced nationwide on Saturday, while 2651 people were in hospital with the virus - the lowest figure since early in June.

Meanwhile, Australian doctors in training say they hold grave concerns for the future of the healthcare sector as senior medical professionals grapple with burnout brought on in part by COVID-19 and influenza.

The Australian Medical Students' Association is calling on governments to urgently address pressures on the workforce, and commit to long-term planning by funding the National Medical Workforce Strategy.

"Disastrous" staff shortages, extreme burnout, and intensified clinical demand are among the factors straining the sector, association president Jasmine Davis said.

The peak body is concerned the crisis will have ramifications for patient safety.

"We know that a burnt out, under-staffed medical workforce cannot adequately teach the next generation of doctors, despite their desire to do so," Ms Davis said.

"As a result, medical students have faced significant disruptions to their medical education throughout the COVID-19 pandemic - now in its third year - with cancelled placements, restricted access to patients, and online classes."

Ms Davis said students were forced to reflect on the viability and sustainability of their future careers when taught by doctors who were underpaid and overworked.

Nearly nine in 10 doctors are experiencing burnout, according to a recent survey by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

"It is essential that we focus on alleviating the current workforce pressures and put in place structures to reduce burnout in the medical profession long-term," Ms Davis said.

The association is the peak representative body for Australia's 17,000 medical students.

LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:

NSW: 6254 cases, 22 deaths, 1219 in hospital with 41 in ICU

Victoria: 6224 cases, 23 deaths, 454 in hospital with 27 in ICU

Northern Territory: 171 cases, no deaths, 13 in hospital, none in ICU

Queensland: 3340 cases, seven deaths, 329 in hospital, 10 in ICU

South Australia: 2355 cases, 13 deaths, 244 in hospital, five in ICU

Western Australia: 6158 cases, five deaths, 272 in hospital, 11 in ICU

ACT: 696 cases, no deaths, 79 in hospital, one in ICU

Tasmania: 593 cases, no deaths, 41 in hospital, two in ICU

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