Tassie organisations join forces in fight against COVID-19

Frontline health workers across the state will be provided with some relief after the delivery of much needed personal protective equipment from two Tasmanian organisations.

Not-for-profit private health insurer St.LukesHealth and superannuation company Tasplan joined forces to purchase 2,600 N95 face masks, which were distributed over the Easter period in an endeavour to protect workers against COVID-19.

The face masks were delivered to both the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Australian Medical Association for distribution to community GPs and nurses as well as to the North West Private Hospital, Calvary Hospitals in both Launceston and Hobart and Hobart Private Hospital.

St.LukesHealth’s CEO Paul Lupo said both organisations felt the need to give back to the community and approached the Launceston Health Hub on how they could help.

“Some weeks ago we were concerned to hear that personal protective equipment like medical-grade face masks were in short supply across the state. In recent days, the public health sector received 72,000 masks from the national stockpile but we felt the need to support those working in other areas,” Mr Lupo said.

“When we received the masks on April 9, there was such an urgency for the PPE that we engaged with a taxi service to transport the items from Launceston to Burnie and Hobart.

“Our frontline workers are doing such a fantastic job and are working around the clock to contain this virus. It was a no-brainer to try and provide some peace of mind to those workers and ensure they have the correct equipment to do their job and return home safely to their families.”

Tasplan CEO Wayne Davy said he was pleased to be able to partner with St.LukesHealth to supply much needed medical grade face masks to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“Our state’s medical staff are going above and beyond to help the community. Any assistance we can provide them to stay safe and well is vital,” Mr Davy said.

“As Tasmanians, we are all dealing with the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 and we understand that as a local organisation we have an important role to play in supporting our community and our health system to ensure we can all get through these unprecedented circumstances.”

AMA Tasmania vice president Dr John Davis welcomed the gift and said the support would make a big difference during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“AMA Tasmania welcomes the generous offer from Tasmanian organisations St.LukesHealth and Tasplan of 900 N95 masks to be distributed to our AMA members across the state. We are delighted to supply these to our frontline doctors as a late Easter present if you will. This is a classic display of the lengths we go to support each other in Tasmania,” Dr Davis said.

“These masks will provide two things; a short-term top-up to those of highest need and secondly highlight the importance of ensuring that, at the frontline, we've got that additional PPE, that protective equipment that is mandatory to provide the protection for both our healthcare workers and their patients; the Tasmanian community."

ANMF Tasmanian Branch secretary Emily Shepherd said support from the corporate community during the pandemic not only provided practical support but also collegial support at a difficult time for the healthcare system.

“The ANMF Tasmanian Branch is incredibly grateful to the Launceston Health Hub, St.LukesHealth and Tasplan in their support of nurses, midwives and care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Shepherd said.

“Nurses, midwives and care workers, along with their medical and allied health colleagues, are on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. The practical support in the form of masks is a wonderful and welcomed gesture by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Tasmanian Branch and its members.”
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