Let’s move them out.

Channel Nine News, Sunday May 3.

Over the weekend Ann Fahey, 76, a resident who twice before had tested negative to it, died of Covid-19. She was the fourteenth person to die at Newmarch House, where by Sunday night, 23 residents and 26 staff had tested positive to the virus.

On Sunday, Jodi McKay Leader of the NSW Opposition repeated an earlier call for residents to be able to leave, negative patients to isolate in alternative accommodation and positive patients, whose families had requested it, to be allowed to go to a major teaching hospital.

Last Thursday, May 30, we put the same proposition to the NSW Department. It’s understandable that they might be slow to respond to us, but we hope they are responding more quickly to families of Newmarch House residents.

We’ve been told Newmarch House has hospital grade facilities to look after the patients, but we are not reassured by this because infections keep occurring. Something seems to be going wrong with infection control there, which means we’ve lost confidence in the facility’s capacity to handle the plight it finds itself in.

Here are last Thursday’s questions.

Nursing homes are a federal responsibility. But if patients get sick in them, they need to be transferred to a hospital and that’s a state responsibility.

So doesn’t the state government ultimately get involved with a problem like those occurring at Newmarch House now?

Also, could you comment on the following:

“Why weren’t the Newmarch patients (sick with Covid-19) transferred, or why can’t they be now? A decision to do something like this, even if unprecedented, would need to be made by the NSW state government, since it’s their beds we’d be asking the patients to be transferred to.”

And the NSW government would have to negotiate a right to intervene with the Federal government because they have responsibility for nursing homes. It’s complex but doable.”

Is that a reasonable proposition? If not why not?

“Why can’t those who aren’t infected be put up in one of those fancy hotels where all the returning travellers were recently isolated for 14 days. Because they need care? The carers who aren’t infected can be brought in too.

That arrangement, between a hospital, health insurance providers and classy local hotels works well in Sydney maternity hospitals.”

Is that a reasonable proposition? If not why not?

“Yes, of course we need social distancing and restrictions on numbers visiting a place infected with Covid-19. But can’t we come up with some lateral thinking so that we practice social distancing but still allow the families in this situation genuine connection?”

Can we make industrial grade protective equipment available, put the family and their loved one on a back field for the day? Maybe all these things are happening but that is not the impression we’re getting.”

“Is that a reasonable proposition? If not why not?

“If, as the families have suggested, the aged care facility won’t let the families in, that’s another reason for the patients who have tested positive to be taken to a major teaching hospital, where the staff have been preparing to take Covid-19 patients for weeks, are trained and psychologically prepared for the risks of treating Covid-19 patients – unlike the terrified, anxious, frontline staff at the aged care facility, not usually registered nurses and not usually practising intensive care nurses.”

“Again, is that a reasonable proposition? If not why not?

We hope infection control is developed and made easier for aged care facilities everywhere, and that the high death rates at Newmarch House stop soon.

Leave a Reply