GP trainees concerns on inadequate personal protective equipment to respond to COVID-19
General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA) President Dr Sama Balasubramanian has today called all stakeholders involved in GP training to ensure that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is made available to all GP trainees and their supervisors when caring for persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
“A GP trainee, like any medical practitioner, cannot look after patients if they themselves are unwell—this is why protecting the health of all GP trainees by ensuring there is appropriate PPE available is of utmost importance,” said Dr Balasubramanian.
“GP trainees are an important part of the frontline response to COVID-19. We usually see the acute, 'walk-in' patients with respiratory infections, at the GP practices where we are training, so we are particularly vulnerable to exposure to the coronavirus.”
“GPRA has received a number of enquiries from worried GP trainees who are reporting that their GP practices are considering, or have already implemented, steps to ration the use of PPE amongst their GPs and GP registrars.”
“We know that many GP practices have established workflows and procedures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19, but if there is no PPE available, GP trainees should not have to treat or carry out testing on patients suspected to have COVID-19.”
“While GPRA recognises the challenges in supply of PPE in this public health emergency, GP training practices and supervisors must be supported in sourcing adequate PPE in order to ensure a safe working environment for themselves and their trainees.”
“In the circumstance where a GP trainee is unable to see patients because of inadequate PPE, this should not impact their training time or sick leave.”
“In this time of unprecedented emergency, I call upon the Department of Health, the Primary Health Networks (PHNs), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Regional Training Organisations (RTOs) to ensure the health and safety of GP trainees and supervisors is not put at risk, and that their future careers are not jeopardised.”
“Prioritising the health and wellbeing of GP trainees and supervisors in our decision-making is vital to the future of our profession.”
“GP trainees have a vital role in the healthcare response to COVID-19. We strive to provide high-quality healthcare for our communities during this unprecedented emergency.”
General Practice Registrars Australia:
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