Testing for healthcare workers must be prioritised

Tasmanian Labor
  • Some healthcare workers waiting 48 hours for COVID-19 test
  • Only 100 tests performed in NW yesterday
  • No healthcare worker should have to wait
  • The State government must act quickly and proactively to ensure all healthcare and other hospital staff on the North West Coast have access to COVID-19 testing without delay.

    Labor Leader Rebecca White said despite increased testing capacity, some workers in our health system are waiting 48 hours to access testing.

    “The government said yesterday that testing would be ramped up, with capacity for 500 tests a day in Tasmania,” Ms White said.

    “But despite this, only 100 tests were conducted yesterday in the North West – the epicentre of the crisis – and some staff have been told they’ll have to wait 48 hours for a test.

    “When we have 1200 staff who’ve been told they can access testing, why were yesterday’s testing figures so low? And why are people being told to wait if the capacity has been increased?

    “Given the seriousness of this outbreak, we have no time to waste in getting every single healthcare and hospital worker in the region tested so we can ensure tracking and tracing commences to get on top of this virus.

    “While the government has said it is streamlining processes around testing, it needs to be more proactive in getting people tested.

    “It is not good enough to wait for symptomatic people to contact health professionals or the hotline. Everyone who has worked at the two hospitals at the centre of the outbreak or been an admitted patient since 27 March can and should be tested as soon as possible.”

    Ms White said as well as supporting staff to access testing, there needs to be better support for those in quarantine along with those still working on the frontline.

    “This is an incredibly stressful time for those staff and their families, and morale is clearly being affected.

    “These workers are the backbone of our response to COVID-19 and they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. This includes any staff raising concerns about their situation or wider issues impacting on their ability to provide care safely during this crisis.

    “We’ve heard from some workers that communication has been unclear and we urge the government to ensure they consult with the workforce about decisions that affect them.

    “As difficult as this time is, we need to do all we can to minimise anxiety and fear in the region and people deserve clarity and certainty about what happens next.

    “I urge the government to ensure all of our vital and dedicated health care workers and staff across the health system receive the respect, care and access to support they deserve.

    “They have gone above and beyond in looking after us. We need to do the same for them.”

    Rebecca White MP

    Labor Leader

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