COVID-19 inquiry must be extended

The LNP is calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to broaden the current Parliamentary Health Committee Inquiry into Queensland’s COVID-19 response to include the recent clusters at state government-managed facilities.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the outbreaks at Ipswich Hospital, the Wacol Youth Detention Centre and the Queensland Corrections Training Academy deserved further examination.

“These are all state government-run facilities and there must be proper oversight of how these three clusters have spread and whether the outbreaks have been appropriately contained,” Ms Frecklington said.

“It’s been more than three weeks since the Brisbane Youth Detention centre cluster revealed six cases and there is still no confirmed source of the recent clusters.

“The missing link between the clusters and the original source of infection is also still unknown.

“Following the update yesterday that revealed a further three new cases, it’s clear that the outbreaks are continuing.

“The Health Committee needs to specifically enquire into how these recent clusters have grown over the last three weeks, so that further outbreaks can be prevented and lessons learned.

“Concerns have been raised about the availability of fit-for-purpose personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Ipswich Hospital by the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union and also whether there has been adequate training for staff.

“Other issues raised have included whether staff are wearing PPE properly and if there is a need for mandated N95 respirator masks instead of just surgical masks for staff in direct contact with COVID patients.

“As the union has outlined, they are the guidelines for health workers in Victoria.”

Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates said she was concerned that the Ipswich Hospital cluster has now spread to seven health care workers.

“Outbreaks in hospitals will not only impact on workers, but also cause a major disruption to the health services provided to other patients and should be avoided at all costs,” Ms Bates said.

“There has already been a disruption to category 2 and 3 surgeries for patients at the Ipswich Hospital.”

It is understood the Inquiry is due to report this week and the LNP will be writing to the Chair to push for an extension.

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