ORCID : 0000-0002-7409-7007
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Graduate Research
Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2021
Objective: This research sought to gauge the extent to which doctors, nurses and paramedics in Australia were concerned about contracting SARS-CoV-2 during the country's first wave of the virus in April 2020.
Methods: Australian registered doctors, nurses and paramedics (n=580) completed an online questionnaire during April 16–30, 2020 (period immediately following the highest four-week period (first wave) of SARS-CoV-2 confirmed cases in Australia).
Results: During April 2020, two-thirds of participants felt it was likely they would contract SARS-CoV-2 at work. Half the participants suggested Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies were inadequate for them to safely perform their job, with two-thirds suggesting management advised them to alter normal PPE use. One-third of participants suggested they were dissatisfied with their employer's communication of COVID-19 related information.
Conclusions and implications for public health: After reports of PPE shortages during Australia's first SARS-CoV-2 wave, and suggestions access to PPE was still limited during Australia's second wave five months later, we must forecast for this and future pandemics ensuring adequate access to PPE for frontline healthcare workers. Further, ensuring consistent and standardised pathways for communication to staff (acknowledging the reality that information may rapidly change) will help alleviate frustration and anxiety.
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Safety and quality in health care