Lessons to be learnt from NW outbreak review

Tasmanian Labor
  • Clear scrutiny needed of government processes
  • Review only as strong as the evidence provided
  • Recommendations need to be applicable statewide
  • The North
    West COVID-19 Outbreak Independent Review seeks answers to critical questions
    about the state’s preparedness and response, including access to PPE, staff
    training and hospital resourcing.

    Shadow
    Minister for Health Sarah Lovell said the interim report, released in April,
    painted a clear picture that the state’s health system wasn’t adequately
    prepared for COVID-19, despite warning time.

    “Labor was
    hearing consistent concerns from health staff about inadequate supplies of PPE
    and a lack of staff training during the lead-up to the North West outbreak, and
    those concerns were echoed across the state.

    “Despite assurances
    from the government that there were safeguards in place to stop the spread of
    COVID-19 and adequate levels of PPE for staff, the outbreak spread between
    healthcare settings and devastated the community.

    “5,000
    people were quarantined due to the outbreak, and there is no doubt the evidence
    they can provide will strengthen the outcome of the review – but there isn’t
    enough protection for health workers to ensure there will be no repercussions
    for speaking out.

    “To date,
    public servants have not had the confirmation they will not be targeted if
    information they disclose is able to be traced back to them – these fears need
    to be allayed to ensure staff can speak freely.

    “No stone
    should be left unturned to ensure that answers are provided to families
    affected by the outbreak, and lessons are learned to ensure the state is better
    prepared if another outbreak occurs.

    “It is an
    unfortunate reality that the state will continue to see cases of COVID-19 and –
    as noted by the Premier’s own Social and Economic Recovery Council – the
    community is yet to be assured the government has a plan to respond to
    potential outbreaks in the future.”

    *Labor’s submission can be found here.

    Sarah Lovell

    Shadow Minister for Health

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