McGowan Government fails COVID hurdle with embarrassing triage bungle

Jan 24, 2022 | Libby Mettam MLA, State News

After two years to prepare our health system for COVID, revelations two COVID patients at Fiona Stanley Hospital weren’t triaged properly is astounding, according to Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam.

“This is a complete embarrassment. We have had two years to implement basic protocols and plans with respect to COVID yet it appears we have stumbled at the first major hurdle,” Ms Mettam said.

“It’s more than a wake-up call, it’s gobsmacking and deeply disturbing that our health system in is this position.

“It also validates the Opposition’s fears that there are no plans to deal with COVID, this government has been asleep at the wheel, smug behind a closed border but hasn’t done the heavy lifting it promised the public it would do behind the scenes.

“For the Minister to state that there were ‘around’ five families that were casual contacts highlights she either has no idea or is unwilling to provide transparent information on the state of the outbreak to the WA public.

“The fact the Minister is also unaware of whether there are any Omicron cases outside the metropolitan area is completely unacceptable given there are now 24 new cases.”

Ms Mettam said the Minister’s admission they were chartering planes to expedite the delivery of Rapid Antigen Tests indicated the government was scrambling to prepare.

“They dragged their feet on ordering the tests, banning them until two weeks ago, and now are spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to get them here urgently. It’s absolutely ludicrous.”

Ms Mettam said delays in the recruitment of staff and the guidelines around close contact definitions as well as the plans for school children had added to the uncertainty and angst in the community.

“What is clear, is there is no point in having a plan, talking about a plan if no one is aware of what the plan actually is.
“The people of WA deserve and expect better than a government that has its head in the sand.”