ACEM responds to Western Australian border opening delay

“Like many Western Australians today, we have mixed feelings about the delay in opening the Western Australian border. Like others, many of us had plans to see our families and loved ones that live across borders, and these plans will be postponed. We offer our sympathies and support to people experiencing this today.”

“We are, in part, relieved, as we were nervous about the ability of the already overloaded health system to cope with an Omicron surge. Opening the border when the rest of the world is hitting the Omicron peak was always going to be challenging, as high numbers of infection would mean a very rapid incursion of COVID into WA.”

“The benefits of a delay of a few more weeks will allow us to make our processes for managing COVID-19 in emergency departments (EDs) more robust.”

“During this short delay, we want to see a clear, well-publicised plan for how we are going to manage COVID-19 positive patients in the community. In states with COVID-19, we are seeing it is often the lack of community pathways that are forcing people to turn to EDs for care as there is simply nowhere else to turn to.”

“But we want certainty, and we want a reopening plan from the government. We want a date. The health system has been working towards the 5th of February and now, without a date, we can’t effectively prepare EDs for the arrival of COVID-19.”

“The uncertainty with the border could also further impact our recruitment of urgently needed international medical workforce and the College urgently seeks clarity on border requirements for international medical professionals.”

Background:

ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au

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