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‘Dire’: NSW worker lifts lid on Covid testing chaos

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According to a Reddit post titled ‘Insight into what’s happening inside pathologies and hospital’, the insider source, claimed PCR tests are taking longer because pathology labs, which are testing batches of samples to cope with the frequency of testing are struggling to keep up with the number of positive results. “First of all, pathologies started batching samples to cope with the frequency of testing that was required during the lockdown a few months ago,” the source claimed.“This method essentially boils down to mixing multiple samples together and testing them as one unit. If the test comes back negative, all samples in the batch are resulted accordingly. “If the batch comes back as positive, we can run each sample individually to single out the culprit(s). This is all well and good when the percentage of positive results is low, however it all starts to fall apart when this percentage increases and every other batch we test is positive and requires individual testing, deleting any further testing until the positive samples are identified.”The insider source, who has previously identified themselves as a NSW hospital worker on the social media platform, also claimed they are “at the absolute limit of testing”.“….there is literally no more equipment available, let alone staff, in the country to process more samples”.The author of the Reddit post also said “the staffing situation is dire”. “Most wards have enough workers to just get by, and anybody calling in sick or even taking their annual leave can spell trouble for the remaining staff, requiring them to take on extra shifts, double shifts and overtime. This is no different in pathologies,” the post read. The insider source also revealed many of their colleagues quit due to the “impossible workload, stress, poor compensation and inhumane treatment by our management”. “Pathologies had barely just gotten over the hurdle that was the prior lockdown, with very few resources and dwindling staffing,” they claimed.The healthcare worker also wrote that data entry and results are “huge time sinks that cripple some labs”. “Labs that don’t use measures like QR codes that allow you to enter your details before you get tested are spending DAYS just manually entering handwritten information into laboratory systems,” the insider source claimed. “I know for a fact that some pathologies are at least a full day behind on simply entering specimens into their system.”The Reddit post also contained an example of where the worker’s hospital was forced to use rapid PCR tests on people coming to the emergency department, even though they are meant to be used on inpatients.“Yesterday, 1 in every 4 patients who presented to the emergency department and were tested with rapid PCR at the hospital which I work at returned positive for COVID,” the post claimed.“You read that correctly, 25 per cent of patients who presented to ED and were tested yesterday were positive. “We had to omit utilising our rapid PCR for inpatients who required urgent medical intervention in order to screen ED patients.“We cannot cope. Healthcare staff have been left a burden which we do not have the resources to manage. The quality of patient care is suffering. I cannot speak for nurses or doctors on these wards, they must be going through unimaginable stress and hardship. What I witnessed yesterday has left a terrifying impression on me. The hospitals are not equipped for this.”The post was backed by a number of healthcare workers including a Registered Nurse Registered Midwife (RNRM), who wrote: “I’m an RNRM, I can also verify all the above. Those who say ‘just let it rip, we’ll all get it eventually’ have no idea how vulnerable the healthcare system is right now. The overworked healthcare system will affect everyone in some way for decades to come.”An Infectious Disease Registrar commented: “Can definitely verify all of the above.” A rural doctor also wrote: “Rural doctor checking in – can also verify. Healthcare in this country was a s***show prior to the current pandemic. They keep talking about how we’re ready, but we’re really not.”NSW Health and Health Minister Brad Hazzard’s office have been contacted for comment.



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