Health Minister Sarah Courtney says she's confident the state's aged care homes will be able to access the personal protective equipment they need in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, after data showed Tasmanian facilities' requests for PPE from the national stockpile had largely been rejected.
According to an answer to a question on notice from a Senate inquiry into the Australian government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tasmanian aged care facilities made more than 130 requests for PPE from the national medical stockpile between March and mid-August but just 25 were approved.
In April, when the coronavirus outbreak in North-West Tasmania was at its peak, Tasmanian aged care homes made 98 requests to access PPE from the stockpile - 80 were denied.
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"We ... have mechanisms in place to work with aged care facilities and the federal stockpile to make sure we can access PPE for aged care facilities in a timely way and that the federal government can help us replenish those," Ms Courtney said.
"I'm confident with the planning that we've got around aged care facilities and the responsibilities in terms of an outbreak that the right mechanisms are there for aged care facilities to get the PPE that they need."
Ms Courtney also highlighted that the state government had established an aged care emergency operations centre, which she said allowed for extensive planning in terms of developing outbreak responses.
"We have got very large stockpiles of PPE and we have dedicated resources across state government and across the [Tasmanian Health Service] to ensure that we have got rapid deployment of PPE to the facilities that need it," she said.
Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has said requests from providers managing outbreaks across the country were approved, as were those where providers couldn't source PPE to meet a clinical need.
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