Health practitioners across a range of sectors are pleading with the government to provide a clear plan for re-opening now to allow them to prepare before the easing of border restrictions on February 5.
A number of sectors have raised serious concerns about the lack of guidance or protocols in place to allow them to safely transition to working with COVID-19 in the community.
Among the concerns are basic questions around what is considered a close contact vs a causal contact, will practitioners operating own private businesses be allowed to use RATs to screen workers and will the use of N95 masks and other PPE allow them to be considered low risk contacts.
“These are all basic questions that should have been worked out and it is fair for these practitioners, many of whom run their own small businesses, to expect clear answers by now,” Shadow Minister for Health Libby Mettam said.
“I have been contacted by GPs, physiotherapists and chiropractors that simply want a clear set of protocols which is not unreasonable three weeks out from the re-opening.
“Instead, we are seeing an ad hoc approach from a government that leaves everything to the 11th hour.
“No other government in the world has had as much time to prepare for the spread of COVID into the community yet they are leaving it to the last minute to provide crucial information.
“It’s unfair and yet again Western Australians will be required to shoulder the burden of the McGowan Government’s inability to manage the health portfolio.
“They announced this border re-opening weeks ago, how much more time do they need to clarify and work through these issues?”
Ms Mettam said there was a clear need for a risk matrix and clinical pathways so that all practitioners understood how they would be expected to manage their practices when the border re-opens.
“There is also an outstanding need for Hospital in the Home guidance as rolled out in other states to assist the health sector in avoiding unnecessary hospitalisations.
“These concerns are also shared by health workers in hospitals, particularly in regional WA who are seeking direction on dealing with COVID patients.
“The McGowan Government has much work to do to provide this much needed clarity now given we are just weeks away from reopening.”