Shocking evidence presented to the Public Accounts Committee today has again raised serious questions about how well prepared Tasmania is for a second wave of COVID-19.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said while Peter Gutwein had provided assurances the health system is prepared, workers on the frontline are telling a very different story.
“Eight months into this pandemic, nurses and other health workers are still struggling with inadequate staffing and resources,” Ms Lovell said.
“The secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Emily Shepherd, told the committee many health workers are still traumatised by the North West outbreak, when they were confronted with a lack of PPE training and supplies and were required to work back to back shifts because of inadequate staffing.
“Ms Shepherd expressed alarm at revelations the first orders for additional PPE were not placed until April 15 – more than a month after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tasmania.
“Ms Shepherd says her members felt unsupported and there is no confidence the system is prepared for a second wave, with inadequate staffing, resources and physical infrastructure.
“Many of these staff were traumatised by the experience of the North West outbreak and tragically several have even quit the profession.
“The union has also confirmed the demoralising impact of unfounded rumours circulated by the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer at the height of the outbreak.
“Ms Shepherd said this was the lowest blow delivered to front line workers, many of whom went to ground for fear of being abused in their communities.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Minister for Health