Australian Medical Association vice president said it is becoming increasingly difficult for healthcare workers to care for their patients as half of some staff units are ‘wiped out’ due to COVID -19.
Dr Chris Moy said he was particularly concerned about NSW “due to the refusal to actually have the mask warrants earlier”.
“You have this double whammy of many patients and also staff on discharge at the same time,” he told Radio National this morning.
“I receive phone calls from worried colleagues, [medical administrators] saying, “We are really worried about how we are going to staff our units because half of the staff has been cut or a lot of the staff has been cut because they are on leave and cannot not come to work. “
“It is difficult to provide care not only for COVID, but also for everything the health system provides. “
Dr Moy said the association asked the federal government for details on the strategy for greater reliance on rapid antigenic testing several months ago, around September. He said there did not appear to be a plan for Australia on rapid antigenic testing.
“We have three problems,” he said. “The first is that we are unable to provide [rapid antigen tests] at a critical time when we really need them, and the second thing is that there is a lack of equity of access because unfortunately they are so expensive that they are really not available to a lot of people .
“And there’s also miscommunication about when people should best use them. “
Australian and New Zealand Critical Care Society vice-president Dr Mark Nicholls said he believed there would be a “degree of disappointment” among ICU staff over the increase of COVID-19 cases presenting to hospital.
“But I’m very optimistic that the staff will come together; they are very resilient, very capable of problem solving and able to go forward and get through this next wave, ”he said.