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Bunnings to the rescue!
Dr Stephen Parnis said that the lack of PPE is the “number one concern” for Australian healthcare workers on Q&A on Monday night.
Dr Parnis is an emergency doctor and former Vice President of the Australian Medical Association and is aware of “department directors” going to Bunnings to get PPE for their staff.
He said that others are trying to source the vital equipment from overseas contacts.
“It's probably the number one concern for health workers around the country at the moment,” Dr Parnis said.
— QandA (@QandA) April 6, 2020
Q&A host Hamish MacDonald was shocked and asked Dr Parnis to clarify what he meant.
“Can I clarify? Department heads are going to Bunnings to try and find personal protective equipment,” MacDonald asked.
“I've seen examples of that. Yes,” Dr Parnis said.
General practitioner Dr Vyom Sharma said that the lack of PPE is “affecting the nature and care” being given to patients.
“It’s correct what Steven said, we're very worried about the lack of personal protective equipment and it's been affecting the care we've been offering patients throughout,” Dr Sharma said.
“When the criteria for COVID-19 had been changing gradually through February and March, a huge percentage of my (patients) were overseas students and travellers and tourists.
“And you're rationing masks even then. And there are people coughing and sneezing one day who come from South Korea or Italy and a few day later the criteria changes and it says these people are high risk and you wonder should I have used a mask on them and I would have if I had enough.”
Dr Sharma said that in his own practice, they were rationing out PPE and the number of masks has dwindled to about ten.
“We are trying to save them for when we really need them.”
The stress of the pandemic has resulted in doctors not being able to sleep.
“It's a stressful time for us all … because we're making enormous numbers of changes in our hospitals, but also we've seen what's happened overseas,” he said.
“And that's the sort of scenario that really worries us, the risk of being overwhelmed.”