Monday, 20 April 2020

Aged care sector neglected


“The Government has left open a critical blind spot when it comes to a strategy for aged-care facilities”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Almost every death from COVID-19 to date has occurred at an aged-care facility, yet, in its rush to achieve elimination, the Government has underperformed in making aged-care facilities resilient against COVID-19.

“The Government has gradually redefined elimination from its plain-language meaning - no more coronavirus in New Zealand - to a more realistic scenario of managing the virus at a very low level. That means there will continue to be a risk of fatal clusters in aged-care facilities, regardless of when the country moves to Alert Level 3.

“To date, reports are of very limited personal protective equipment supplies to aged-care facilities, leaving a critical blind spot for preventing deaths from COVID-19. A more sensible strategy based on resilience would focus on protecting the elderly in aged-care facilities, but first the Government must be open about what elimination does and does not mean.

“Unless the Government truly means no more COVID-19 in New Zealand, then it needs to move swiftly to ensure the supply of PPE to aged-care facilities. It needs to provide clear guidelines for how these facilities operate and where the liability for any potential transmission lies.”