'Off the mark': Hospital's 'weird' gift for frontline workers

Eyebrows have been raised after the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network gave out bananas as part of an initiative started to support hospital staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The banana puzzled many people on Twitter who felt fruit missed the mark and wondered what else the government was doing to support healthcare workers on the front line.

“Consider taking some time this week to check in on a colleague, friend or family member,” the note on the banana read.

'Consider taking some time this week to check in on a colleague, friend or family member,' the note on the banana read. Source: Twitter

“What’s the deal NSW Health? How else are you supporting front line workers?” one person on Twitter asked.

Many people agreed, taking the opportunity to speak out for underpaid and stressed-out healthcare staff.

“Interesting way to combat unpaid overtime. That said, I always feel better after a banana,” one person responded.

“Is potassium specifically good for stress caused by a pandemic where medical resources are not guaranteed?” another person asked.

Some people made fun of the gesture.

“Love my support banana,” one user wrote

“I suppose it does have a certain… apeel (sic),” another person joked.

“Australians have election sausages. Maybe the wellbeing banana is a similar institution,” a third said.

Others felt the fruit was insulting to front line workers.

“Oh wow – this is just... so weird, and so off the mark,” one person said.

“How insulting,” another added.

Many wondered what else the government was doing to support stressed and overworked healthcare workers on the front line during COVID-19. Source: Getty

A small part of a wider initiative

A Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the bananas were a small part of a wider initiative to support the psychological wellbeing of all staff during COVID-19 and beyond.

“This week, SCHN launched its inaugural Psychological Wellbeing Week, which aims to initiate open and honest conversations about psychological wellbeing, connect staff with helpful information and resources and encourage staff to take small, sustainable steps to look after their wellbeing during this challenging time,” the spokesperson said.

“Organised by a large team of staff from various areas including psychological medicine, nursing, medical, social work and organisational development, activities have included free meditation and mindfulness sessions, webinars, virtual panel discussions, printed and digital appreciation cards and free giveaways including printed resources, chocolate and fruit.”

Supporting frontline workers

Companies around Australia have been supporting healthcare workers with discounts, gifts and free services to thank them for continuing to work through the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak.

Insurance company AAMI has offered free roadside assistance to all doctors, nurses, hospital staff, paramedics, police, firefighters and SES workers until the end of the year.

Companies around Australia have been supporting healthcare workers with discounts, gifts and free services to thank them for continuing to work through the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak. Source: Getty Images

Woolworths, Coles and Bunnings reserved special community hours allowing healthcare workers to shop before the general public during the grocery shortage.

Optus and Vodafone waved certain fees for a limited time and car share services like Uber offered free rides to healthcare workers.

Other companies showed their gratitude in the form of free parking in the City of Sydney, complimentary coffee and online courses to help support the mental health of frontline workers.

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