Deputy Leader of the Canberra Liberals and Shadow Health Minister Giulia Jones is challenging the Health Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith to provide a guarantee that health workers and patients will be safe when receiving a new form of COVID-19 treatment.
The treatment, Sotrovimab, is an antibody against COVID-19 that can be administered as single dose intravenous infusion in the early stages of a COVID-19 diagnosis. But the treatment is not going to be offered in a hospital setting.
ACT Health will administer the drug to patients in a bus on football field behind the Garran Surge Centre.
“Sotrovimab has the potential to be a game-changer for the treatment of COVID-19 in the ACT,” Mrs Jones said.
“I have been approached by nurses who have concerns about the clinical environment in which Canberra Health Service is intending to administer Sotrovimab.
“The current plan is to administer Sotrovimab in a bus — similar to a blood donation bus — parked at the back of the Garran Surge Centre.
“Staff have raised concerns that there are no toilets, inadequate ventilation — which is critical for preventing the spread of COVID-19 — and that if patients have an adverse reaction, they must be moved by ambulance to the ICU in Canberra Hospital.
Following discussions with nurses, Mrs Jones called on the ACT Health Minister to provide answers to the following questions:
- Why are we treating patients in a bus on the oval when there is a specially built Garran Surge Centre right next door?
- What hygiene and rest facilities for staff are available in the bus?
- Is the ventilation appropriate and does it provide a safe clinical and working environment for healthcare workers and patients?
“Why aren’t we doing this in the $14 million surge centre that was purpose built for coping with the extra load of COVID?
“Staff will be constantly donning and doffing PPE as they move from the bus to the surge centre.
“I’ll continue to push the Health Minister to ensure that our health workers are safe and their working conditions as a good as they can be,” Mrs Jones concluded.