Published: 03 June 2020

Legislative Council Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Mrs HISCUTT - Mr President, the member for Murchison asked five questions about the reopening of the North West Regional Hospital and the North West Private Hospital in Burnie. The questions were about protocols regarding movement of inpatients between the two hospitals, staffing levels at the North West Regional Hospital, personal protective equipment - PPE - training, and infection control measures.

(1) Tasmanian Health Service and Ambulance Tasmania have the following protocols in place - time-critical patient transfer; maternity transfer and bypass protocol; helicopter arrival and departure, MCH; acuity-based ambulance redirection and early retrieval activation; and COVID-19 patient transfer.

All patient transfers require a consultant-to-consultant discussion prior to accepting the patient. In addition, a clinical handover is provided from the hospital to the retrieval or transporting team.

(2) A staff memo has been circulated to staff to minimise the footprint on those staff who routinely work across areas. Rosters have been developed to minimise crossover of staff. In the critical areas, staff rostered to work on a COVID-19 ward are required to work the entire shift in that area.

(3) There has been no impact with regard to staffing areas at this time. I am advised that during this time, there has been no impact on overtime hours and no double shifts have been worked.

(4) All staff who have returned to work must have completed the additional personal protective equipment training. These requirements include an online education program of hand hygiene, PPE and COVID-19 infection control. Importantly, staff must also demonstrate evidence on completing these requirements and have an observer certify their competency in donning and doffing PPE. These mandatory requirements are documented for each staff member.

(5) The North West Private Hospital must meet the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality and Health Care standards around infection control to maintain its accreditation as a health facility. Staff have been required to complete additional PPE training as part of return to work arrangements and documentation to that effect has been received by the regional health commander. A staff and visitor screening program is in place and commenced two weeks prior to the outbreak. The screening tool currently in place is consistent with the Tasmanian Health Service tool and also requires a temperature check.

Measures, including signage and tape, have been put in place to ensure social distancing is observed and hand sanitiser stations are placed around the hospital, including the foyer and in every patient room and assessment area.


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