Richard Colbeck says the “single site” staff order is sent out when an area is declared a hotspot. But it seems when that hotspot declaration is lifted, so too is the order (and funding), which means staff have to work across multiple aged care homes. I say “seems” like because Colbeck doesn’t give a straight answer.
Fran Kelly asks Richard Colbeck where the“sense of urgency” is.
He says they are following the advice.
Richard Colbeck is speaking to ABC RN this morning. He’s the aged care minister. And he’s still “comfortable” with the vaccine rollout.
But he can’t tell you how many aged care workers have been vaccinated. Because there is no one collating that information. They have now asked for providers to give that information so they can’t try and work it out.
“I’m not going to give you a number I am not certain of,” he says.
Also, there is no real program to vaccinate aged care workers run by the federal government. The edict is to vaccinate staff where there is leftover vaccines once residents have been vaccinated. Beyond that, providers can set up a program themselves, or aged care workers can see their GP or attend a hub – work it out themselves, in other words.
Colbeck says that was to cut down on confusion so there wasn’t mixed vaccines.
Christopher Knaus and Melissa Davey have taken a look at what’s happened with the federal government’s aged care response – and it doesn’t seem good. At any level.
Welcome back to Politics Live.
Parliament – and estimates – are back for the first time this week, but it’s the events of yesterday’s non-sitting day which still has everyone’s focus.
The federal government is scrambling to explain how aged care is once experiencing a Covid outbreak, given everything the sector and the people in its care went through last year. Victoria’s Covid outbreak has shown the vulnerabilities in the federally funded and regulated aged care homes once again: while staff in state-run facilities cannot work at other sites, staff at private facilities – which are under the federal government’s jurisdiction – are still able to.
That’s become an issue in this outbreak – again – after a staff member caught Covid from a colleague at one centre and then worked at another centre.
So far the federal government have been unable to give a reason for it, other than there is not enough staff. Greg Hunt said yesterday the states could stop it through a public health order, but that would mean workers – who are working multiple sites in order to make a liveable wage – would be forced to lose pay. Policy and pay settings have changed in the state-run facilities. That hasn’t happened federally, despite the recommendations of the royal commission.
We’ll keep you updated on that, and everything else happening with Victoria. There are fears the lockdown could be extended beyond the end of this week – authorities did not sound confident yesterday they had it under control. There are more than 270 exposure sites and 4,000 people considered primary or secondary contacts. Each day has seen a stubborn four to five new cases – which have mostly been linked – but the sheer numbers point to an extension of the lockdown being likely. I’m so sorry. We’ll bring you all you need to know as soon as we can.
We’ll also let you know what’s happening in parliament and the estimates hearings – Mike Bowers is with you as always, along with Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp and Daniel Hurst.
It being a sitting day, you have Amy Remeikis with you for most of the day. I’m on to just my second coffee – but a third is absolutely calling me.