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North West PPE Allegations Must Be Investigated

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Saturday, 18 April 2020

Tags: Health, Hospitals, COVID-19

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Allegations raised in The Saturday Paper* about the origins of the North West’s COVID-19 outbreak are serious. If correct, they would be major breach of standard infection control practice.

The Minister for Health must investigate these claims as a matter of urgency. Tasmanians need to know if there is any truth in them.

The allegations are serious. They claim there was an agency directive to hospital staff to collect single-use disposable P2 masks, not for their safe disposal but for “decontamination and reuse”.

Other allegations include directions to staff to ration PPE, to use inadequate PPE for theatre operations, and to reuse masks after spraying them with methylated spirits overnight.

Allegations of agency staff or hospital management recommending the reuse of PPE and refusing, or being unable, to provide proper equipment would be disturbing under any circumstance, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.

The Greens welcome the Health Minister’s release of information on current PPE stocks in Tasmania. Clear communication is always important. In a pandemic, it is critical.

We need absolute transparency about what caused the COVID-19 outbreak in the North West, so the public can have confidence in the Tasmanian healthcare system.

These serious allegations relating to Department PPE policy require a rigorous investigation. Tasmanians need an assurance from the Health Minister this has not occurred in the North West, or anywhere else in the State.