Staff, patients at risk from lack of COVID-19 preparedness

Tasmanian Labor
  • Serious concerns over RHH emergency staff safety
  • Ramping, lack of PPE, training, infection control unacceptable
  • NW outbreak report recommendations must be rolled out without delay
  • A lack of adequate support for Tasmania’s frontline hospital workers is putting staff and patients at risk in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said concerns raised by Royal Hobart Hospital emergency department staff in a letter to the Health Minister show pre-COVID issues with ramping and waiting times are continuing to cause serious concerns.

    “Tasmania’s healthcare workers have been at the forefront of our efforts to contain the virus and keep Tasmanians safe,” Ms Lovell said.

    “Not, only that, but they have been among the worst affected Tasmanians, with the outbreak in the North West infecting dozens and forcing many of them into quarantine

    “But rather than providing them with all the support they need, this letter from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine to Sarah Courtney shows ongoing issues, particularly at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

    “It’s bad enough that we are back to ambulance ramping and delays of up to 45 hours to see patients at the RHH, but to have these issues in the middle of a pandemic is completely unacceptable.

    “And it beggars belief that our frontline healthcare workers are having to raise concerns about the potential mixing of COVID and non-COVID patients, after everything we’ve seen in the North West outbreak.

    “That report showed a lack of preparedness in the system led to the outbreak, and yet months down the track, there are still issues with personal protective equipment and infection control procedures.

    “The recommendations from the report into the outbreak must be rolled out without further delay to ensure all of our hospital staff and patients are safe.

    “These are the people keeping us safe. We owe it to them and the wider Tasmanian community to do everything we can to minimise the risk of infection.

    “In times like these, there is no excuse for having a sub-standard public health system.

    “We simply can’t go back to the old ways. We have made changes to fight this pandemic and we must continue along that path for the good of all Tasmanians.”

    Sarah Lovell MP

    Shadow Health Minister

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