Better access to PPE needed for ALL primary care workers
Friday 18th February 2022
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) WA Branch is calling for better support for the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) to be able to provide all primary health workers, especially pharmacists, with access to adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Following Premier McGowan’s announcement earlier this week that a hard border reopening date will be announced in the next fortnight, more must be done to protect the state’s frontline health workers.
PSA WA Branch President, Keegan Wong, said that there is only a small window of opportunity left to adequately protect those on the frontline before case numbers explode.
“The end to the state’s border restrictions is now in sight, and for many, this is welcomed news – but for primary heallthcare, increased interstate socialisation poses significant risk to clinicians and their patients.
“We know there’s sufficient supply of PPE in the country and this should be made available so that ALL primary care clinicians can safely support their patients and the broader community. WAPHA are doing everything in their power to ensure that distribution delays are expedited and have been managing this brilliantly in the face of uncertainty.
“We are calling on the Federal and State Government to support our PHN to keep vital primary care services, including all pharmacies, open as the Omicron wave hits. Currently, only pharmacies providing COVID-19 vaccinations are included, and access to this PPE stops at the end of March, right when cases are expected to rapidly rise. This needs to be extended to all pharmacies, otherwise all pharmacy staff and vulnerable patients will be unnecessarily put at risk.
“Omicron has proven that future waves of different variants are inevitable and we need be ready for whenever that may be. We cannot risk furloughing of staff and primary health closures as a result of inferior protective equipment.
“We know that our frontline workers will need to use this protective equipment for the foreseeable future, and it is not acceptable that our health workers are not provided with adequate PPE.
“We cannot have a situation like on the East Coast, where there wasn’t adequate access to PPE when it was desperately needed it – and fortunately for the McGowan and Federal Governments, there is still time to provide frontline workers with equipment like N95 masks and adequate eye protection.
“Surgical masks simply don’t cut it, especially with variants like Omicron, which are primarily aerosol spread – so it’s time we started treating frontline health workers like professionals by giving them the premium standard of protection,” Mr Wong said.
Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463