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The ‘preventable’ COVID-19 cases that made up 65 per cent of new infections this week

3AW Mornings

In the week to Thursday, healthcare worker infections made up 65 per cent of all new Victorian COVID-19 cases, but the issue isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

A health worker advocacy group says there are obvious problems with how COVID-19 is being handled in health settings.

Co-founder of Health Care Workers Australia, a medical worker advocacy group, Dr Benjamin Veness, says the issues exist because medical professionals haven’t been adequately consulted by policymakers.

“The issue is that healthcare workers haven’t been listened to through this pandemic, so we’ve been sidelined and our concerns … have been ignored by government, and so-called expert decision-making bodies that have the wrong experts on them,” he told Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

Dr Veness says some of the most simple infection control measures are not in place.

“The most basic of respiratory protection measures have been ignored by this government for months,” he said.

“We even have toilets in hospitals that don’t have lids on them, and we know you can have fecal transmission.

“If you actually empowered the nurses, the allied health practitioners, the doctors on the ground, to give advice to government, I think you would’ve picked up on these things much much earlier.”

Dr Veness called for a rigorous occupational health and safety approach for health workers, as other industries, such as mining and construction, have.

“Every single one of these healthcare infections was preventable,” he said.

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