Newsroom are reporting
on the denial of PPE to frontline workers providing care in the home to many New Zealanders, often the elderly and disabled people, work that includes close contact personal cares where a 2m physical distance isn’t possible.
At the end of March, Ashley Bloomfield promised home care workers masks, gloves and gowns to keep them and their clients safe from Covid-19. Almost two weeks later, why are so many still going to work unprotected?
It’s a somewhat complicated situation where we appear to have enough masks in NZ for home care workers, but there’s a disconnect between supply lines and the DHBs releasing kit to workers. The sticking point appears to be the Ministry of Health’s online advisory telling everyone that they only need a mask if their client has covid or has had close contact with someone with covid. Yet, the Ministry’s CE and NZ Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is saying the opposite.
Support and care workers have been reported
by Newsroom as the professional group with the highest rate of covid infection in New Zealand.
This seems like a straight forward thing to sort out. I’m tempted to say the problem is a consequence of a government department overstretched by the pandemic, but I think this is also chickens coming home to roost for a health ministry that has long been failing culturally and administratively in a number of areas related to disability. Needless to say it’s not the planners/managers that will end up wearing the shit.
I look forward to the MSM going all Tova on this in the daily briefings in the coming week. And no, don’t go after Clark’s head, ask the MoH, because that’s where the immediate fix is that will help protect workers and their vulnerable clients.
Update: in today’s briefing from Ashley Bloomfield (link and time stamp in comments), there were no questions specific to home care PPE. There were some general questions that Bloomfield answered as residential care issues.
For those that aren’t aware, there are many New Zealanders who require at least daily care that involves close contact. There are already reports of staff shortages because of workers becoming unwell or having had close contact with people with covid. But also people losing their support workers because the worker doesn’t have access to PPE. Some people are choosing to have care without adequate PPEs, or are forced to because there is no other choice.
The MoH yesterday published a PDF guide Keeping disabled people and their support workers safe
The Ministry of Health is currently working with District Health Boards about supplying PPE to health and disability service providers including community and disability health workers. District Health Boards are now communicating with disability organisations to let them know how this will work. Contact your disability provider if you have any queries about PPE