Auditor-Generals report confirms doctors were short on PPE

18-Dec-2020

Last week we reported on the recent Auditor-Generals report which found that junior doctors wellbeing is at risk

The Auditor-Generals report also focused on NSW Health’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated risks to staff health and safety. The findings will come as no surprise to our members, and reflect many of the key concerns that our Union has been agitating on throughout the pandemic.

They include that:

  • Hospital staff across NSW would have been better prepared for COVID-19 if pandemic training had been delivered across all Local Health Districts in the past decade
  • The Ministry was slow to establish a centralised communication channel to communicate with frontline staff
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) was not always available in required sizes and some hospital masks and gowns were substituted with products that differed from the usual items
  • HealthShare NSW placed limits or caps on some high-demand PPE items that were too low to meet requirements in some Local Health Districts and had to be adjusted to meet actual demand

NSW Health have accepted the recommendation that a post pandemic ‘lessons learned’ review is conducted. We will be watching to see if these are implemented:

  • regular scenario-based pandemic training for hospital staff
  • updated policies and protocols for hospital infection controls
  • capability to upscale authoritative communication with frontline health workers at the earliest notification of a health emergency and for the duration of the emergency
  • systems and safeguards to ensure the supply and availability of clinically appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during all phases of a pandemic.

As always, if you are concerned about your safety at work and access to PPE please contact us at allocation@asmof.org.au