Western NSW: Health staff have enough PPE, authorities say

SAFETY FIRST: There are adequate supplies of PPE for staff in the Western NSW Local Health District, authorities say. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK
SAFETY FIRST: There are adequate supplies of PPE for staff in the Western NSW Local Health District, authorities say. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

HEALTH workers in the Western NSW Local Health District have sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment to safely undertake their work, authorities say.

This comes after a survey by the Royal Australian College of Physicians found that 20 per cent of its members in public hospitals were forced to source their own PPE.

While in Victoria, there are more than 1060 active coronavirus cases among health care workers.

"The Western NSW Local Health District is well equipped with personal protective equipment and has strategies in place should a COVID-19 outbreak occur within our district," a LHD spokeswoman said.

"The WNSWLHD works closely with NSW Health and Health Support Services to ensure our current and future need of PPE can be met."

The RACP's survey also found that public hospital workers had limited (19 per cent) or no (three per cent) access to surgical masks; while 45 per cent said they had limited or no access to higher-grade (N95/P2) masks.

The Western NSW Local Health District is well equipped with personal protective equipment.

Health district spokeswoman

RACP president and respiratory physician Professor John Wilson said it was not good enough that one in five had limited access to surgical masks.

"It's remarkable that some are resorting to sourcing their own PPE," he said.

"It's a troubling sign of what may be coming for our medical workforce.

"If there is a real shortage, priority must be given to those in higher-risk areas where COVID and suspected-COVID patients are treated.

"Our hospitals must be providing all staff with the PPE they need to do their job safely."

Meanwhile, the Western NSW LHD spokeswoman said for people who are at increased risk of severe COVID-19, because of older age or chronic illness, that physical distancing is important.

"If physical distancing cannot be maintained, wearing a mask is an important protective measure," she said.

For people who choose to wear a mask it is important to wear it properly:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands before putting it on or taking it off
  • Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face;
  • Do not touch the front of the mask while wearing or removing it.
  • Do not allow the mask to hang around your neck or under your nose.
  • Do not reuse single use masks, and make sure that reusable masks are washed and dried after use and stored in a clean, dry place.

The best ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 remain:

  • If you are unwell stay in, get tested and isolate.
    • Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with your when you go out.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Take hand sanitiser with your when you go out.
  • Keep your distance. Leave 1.5 meters between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask in situation where you cannot physically distance.

The NSW Government has already committed $800 million extra funding for NSW Health to significantly increase capacity in NSW public hospitals, particularly within ICUs and emergency departments.

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This story We're OK for PPE, says regional health service first appeared on Mudgee Guardian.