An outbreak of COVID-19 involving healthcare workers at the North West Regional Hospital highlights the need to do more to equip Tasmania’s health system to cope with the spread of the virus.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the system has two immediate and critical needs – more personal protective equipment (PPE), and more workers.
“Healthcare workers need to be able to perform their duties safely, so they can continue to care for the rest of the community. To do that, they need adequate supplies of PPE.
“People working in the healthcare system are at increased risk of contracting the virus, but we are still hearing concerning reports that people are not able to access the PPE they need.
“Health workers are worried for their own safety and that of others. We must support them to remain safe in the workplace so they can continue to deliver health care to the community.
Ms White said with nearly 30 health workers in isolation as a result of the outbreak in the state’s north-west, the government must act to fill staffing gaps quickly.
“Every health worker in isolation is one less person working on the frontline, and that gap needs to be filled.
“I have urged the Premier to negotiate with UTAS to bring in undergraduates in a range of healthcare disciplines to support our permanent health workforce on the frontline.
“We need to recruit more health workers immediately to ensure we can support the delivery of health care right across the state.
“That must include supporting retired health care workers to re-register, which would make a huge difference to capacity.
“The Tasmanian community stands united in its support for our health workforce and we urge the government to provide an update on recruitment of more workers to support the delivery of health care and an update on the rollout of more PPE to all health workers.”