26 September 2023

Defence recruited for Tassie hospital

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has sent an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) to Tasmania following a request for assistance from the Tasmanian Government in the wake of the State’s outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in one of its hospitals.

Around 40 Defence and seven civilian medical professionals have arrived in the city of Burnie to work in the North West Regional Hospital.

According to the Minister for Defence, the AUSMAT personnel are there to reopen and operate the facility’s emergency department after staff were sent home for two weeks quarantine following the outbreak.

The Minister, Senator Linda Reynolds said the ADF prioritised the request following notification from Emergency Management Australia, as part of the National Coordination Mechanism.

“The temporary closure of the North West Regional Hospital and its emergency department would deprive the community of much-needed medical assistance at a crucial time,” Senator Reynolds said.

“The deployment of Defence medical practitioners will ensure critical services are maintained.”

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said the deployment would strengthen North West Tasmania’s hospital system during the unprecedented COVID-19 health emergency there.

“Team members are highly skilled medical professionals and this rapid deployment is further evidence of Australia’s world class health system in action and the scalable nature of the Australian Government’s response to COVID-19,” Mr Hunt said.

He said the Defence personnel would provide leadership across clinical, logistic, infection prevention and control, epidemiology and health information services, as well as pre-hospital admission liaison.

“ADF medical personnel deploying include general duties medical officers, emergency nurses, a pharmacist, radiographer and an environmental health officer,” Mr Hunt said.

“Personnel will support the hospital until staff are able to return to work and take over full function of the facility.”

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