The Nationals WA are seeking assurances from the State Government that regional health services and workforces are resourced for the spread of COVID-19.
Leader Mia Davies said she was concerned regional hospitals, general practitioners and vital health staff were not yet resourced to cope with demands of patients seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19.
“Before the onset of COVID-19 our regional health centres and healthcare workers were under strain, with GP shortages and high numbers of temporary staff in hospitals,” Ms Davies said.
“There has been an increase in positive COVID-19 tests in our regions, especially in the Kimberley which is one of our most vulnerable regions in WA, and there needs to be confidence that as more cases are diagnosed they can be managed.
“Our MPs across the State have been contacted by doctors and nurses, those brave and compassionate workers at the frontline of this crisis, worried about the lack of PPE supplies. They need to know they will be supported and protected.
“We have asked the Health Minister for clarification on when regional COVID-19 clinics will be opened in Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, South Hedland and Broome, as we understand there is yet to be an agreement on how they will be funded.”
Ms Davies thanked the Minister for Health for his commitment to arrange a regular briefing from the WA Country Health Service on its actions to deal with COVID-19.
She also welcomed the establishment of a WA-specific COVID-19 hotline for members of the public to contact and seek information.
“Last month The Nationals raised the prospect of a one-stop shop in the form of a hotline and online information hub that could deal with questions about the impacts of COVID-19,” Ms Davies said.
“The State Government has announced this today and I encourage people to use the number should they have any questions – health related or otherwise – about COVID-19.
Ms Davies said she was also pleased the Department of Health had updated inconsistencies on its website regarding COVID-19 clinic locations and was now publishing a new “heat map” showing where positive cases have been confirmed.
“I look forward to the briefing from the WA Country Health Service to better understand our regional preparedness for COVID-19,” she said.