‘Nurses under threat’: Testers lack protective gear
NURSES and doctors are under-protected as they battle COVID-19, the head of the Nurses' Professional Association of Queensland sensationally claimed.
Phill Tsingos said student nurses in Taiwan had better personal protective equipment than nurses in Queensland hospitals. It comes as health staff were seen testing possible COVID-19 carriers at the drive-through testing facility, which has since been moved to Reid Park.
"The staff there had bare hands using swabs to test for COVID-19," Mr Tsingos, the president of the association, said. "They were wearing plastic aprons with their arms bare. There are photos of bare hands and not wearing the proper gown."
Mr Tsingos claimed there was a shortage of protective equipment in regional Queensland hospitals, and staff were being gagged on speaking out during the pandemic.
"The concern for nurses is they are not going to have the necessary protective equipment," he said. "Nurses are scared, they are saying, 'I don't want to risk my life by not wearing masks'."
He said there were about 40,000 nurses working in public Queensland hospitals who would need about 3.5 million masks a week to properly protect them but Queensland Health would not provide a number on its supplies.
Mr Tsingos claimed Queensland Health was covering up a shortage of PPE, with the State Government requesting manufacturing companies help bolster supplies of PPE.
Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said the aim for Queensland was for the manufacturing sector to scale up, grow and deliver to the community and industry in times of need and into the future.
More than 3000 face shields, used by health staff to protect their faces from a patient who may have the virus, were manufactured by businesses and universities in Brisbane in five days.
Queensland Health was asked about its glove, gown and mask supplies for hospitals in the Townsville Hospital and Health Service - including Ayr, Charters Towers and Ingham. A Queensland Health spokeswoman said there was no immediate concern in supplying public hospitals with PPE.
"Our supply chain has also been significantly boosted by access to the national medical stockpile," she said.
Originally published as 'Nurses under threat': Testers lack protective gear