Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Pulse oximeters withheld from COVID positive patients


“Health Minister Andrew Little has today confirmed that almost half of all COVID positive patients isolating at home have not been given pulse oximeters,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Until questioned by ACT in Parliament today, the Government has been unable to say whether all COVID positive patients get an oximeter. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said not every COVID-positive household gets one, the Ministry of Health said they do, Andrew Little said they don't necessarily, and Grant Robertson said everyone does.

“Today Little confirmed that of the 1700 covid positive cases self-isolating, 900 have been given the device that could mean the difference between life and death.

“Pulse oximeters can be used by people diagnosed with COVID and are used to show oxygen levels at home. They can be monitored by GPs in the community. If oxygen levels drop that is an indication that the person needs hospitalisation.

“While it’s good to finally have a concrete answer, it begs the question why 800 people have gone without one when the Government claims it has more than enough to go around.

“Ontario in Canada has been issuing these routinely since March. How are we so far behind? 

“What’s even more concerning is Little was unable to say how many people he expects will be isolating at home over summer. He couldn’t even give an upper or lower limit.

“ACT believes everyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 who is isolating at home should have one of these. The Government needs to get these devices out to COVID positive patients before more people die at home.”