Thursday, 17 December 2020

Aged care staff and residents must be prioritised

“The Government’s vaccine rollout mustn’t take the same blinkered approach to the Covid-19 response it did earlier this year, which saw private facilities largely ignored, especially those who provide aged care,” says ACT Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

"This led to unnecessary suffering in our aged population, concern from families for their loved ones, and heightened stress for staff attempting to provide the best care they could to keep residents safe.

“There are over 650 private aged residential care providers with 38,000 beds in New Zealand, and they must receive the same priority as public health facilities for the vaccine rollout to be effective.

“The 29 May Independent Review of Covid-19 Clusters in Aged Residential Care Facilities found the Ministry of Health didn’t focus well enough on aged residential care.

“They had a range of difficulties, including obtaining Personal Protective Equipment from District Health Boards.

“The majority of Covid-19 deaths in New Zealand occurred in those facilities, with the review showing that of the five clusters in aged care facilities, three had staff cases first, and the most common vector to facilities was a staff member.

“Both staff and residents in these facilities must be prioritised this time, not forgotten and put at risk again.”