The NSW Government must find a way to provide rapid antigen tests for free, ensure the Service NSW app is working to provide recording of positive tests and properly educate GPs in the procedures to follow when their patients contact them for help, according to Shadow Minister for the Central Coast and Member for Wyong, David Harris.
“It’s time that the politicians who are being driven by ideology get out of the way and let the health experts back in charge so that the community can have confidence that this pandemic is being handled in the best way,” Harris said.
He said the recent surge in Covid 19 cases demonstrated that both the State and Federal Governments were underprepared for the increase in cases and for logistical considerations during the holiday period.
“Lack of PCR testing facilities, access to rapid antigen tests, rules around isolation and supply chain issues have plagued the Christmas period and continue to cause problems, even as we approach a planned return to school,” Harris said.
“The Christmas holiday period saw many private testing facilities close for the holidays creating huge queues and uncertainty at a time when omicron was causing a huge increase in cases.
“Access to rapid antigen tests has been difficult with low supplies and high prices impacting on the community’s ability to follow government advice about self-testing, leading to businesses and families being adversely impacted.
“The Federal Government’s promise of free rapid antigen tests has also been shown to have been bad planning and messaging with pharmacies finding out that they are responsible for sourcing the tests, including paying high prices up front, and then finding out that they have two seek reimbursement from a system that has not yet been developed.
“At a NSW Government level, the Service NSW app is not ready to record positive rapid antigen tests, leading to underreporting of cases. (The Service NSW app was started accepting self declared RAT reports on Jan 12)
“Now with students returning to school at the end of the month, we are experiencing a lack of vaccine supply for children with many pharmacies and GPs having to cancel appointments because promised stocks have not arrived.
“The community’s confidence in both the NSW Government and the Australian Government response to COVID is being undermined because of a chaotic approach since November, with both levels of government scrambling to react to the reality on the ground being experienced by communities including the Central Coast.
“People are trying their hardest to be responsible and follow the rules but the basic infrastructure needed to comply either doesn’t exist, is too hard to access or doesn’t work and this is adding to the stress families are already feeling with sickness spreading through their loved ones.
Source: Media release, Dec 10, 2021 David Harris, Member for Wyong