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Independent Review of the Response to the North-West Tasmania COVID-19 Outbreak

The Premier has established an Independent Review to consider the actions, and effectiveness of those actions, taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North-West Tasmania by government agencies, public and private health care facilities, and other relevant authorities.

Greg Melick AO SC has been appointed as the Independent Reviewer. An eminent member of Australia’s legal community, he practises as a barrister and mediator in several jurisdictions in both criminal and civil matters. He is also Chief Commissioner and Chair of the Board of Tasmania’s Integrity Commission.

An expert working group is being established to advise the Independent Reviewer with members experienced in public health, hospital administration, and public sector administration.

Timeframe and scope

The Final Report, including findings and recommendations, is expected to be delivered by the Independent Reviewer by the end of October 2020, subject to the spread of COVID-19 over that timeframe and possible impacts on the availability of personnel.

Objectives

The Review will consider the actions, and effectiveness of those actions, taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North-West Tasmania by government agencies, public and private health care facilities and any other relevant authorities.

The Independent Reviewer will:

  1. Provide an opportunity to persons with a proper interest in the subject matter of this review to make submissions about that subject matter and, if thought necessary, to be heard personally in relation those matters;
  2. Ensure that where necessary appropriate confidentiality arrangements are made for persons assisting the inquiry; and
  3. Ensure the lived experience of North West Coast patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and those placed in quarantine are taken account of.

The Review will cover any other matter relevant to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the North West that the Independent Reviewer identifies in the course of Review activities as warranting investigation and discussion.

Terms of Reference

Following consultation the final Terms of Reference were released on 24 July 2020.

Submissions

24 submissions were received in which the submitter requested that their submission be treated confidentially, either in whole or in part. Some have been published with names or verbatim quotes withheld, and some withheld entirely.  Matters raised in the confidential submissions are largely consistent with the published submissions, and can broadly be summarised as:

  • Communication
  • The physical environment
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Coordination
  • Management
  • Staff health and wellbeing.

In addition, submitters regularly point out the dedication and hard work of people on the ground responding to the crisis.

Name of submitter (Organisation or Individual)

Health and Community Services Union (Tim Jacobson)

Prof Jus St John

Tasmanian Labor (Sarah Lovell MLC)

Health Consumers Tasmania (Bruce Levett)

Rural Doctors Association of Australia (Dr Benjamin Dodds)

Dr Darren Briggs

Name withheld

Name withheld

Ann O’Rourke

Name withheld

Australian Medical Association (content withheld at request of AMA) Dr Helen McArdle

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Tasmania) (Emily Shepherd)

Name withheld

Name withheld

Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (Dr John Bonning)

Tasmanian Government

Department of Health

Pharmacy Guild of Tasmania (John Dowling)
Name withheld (6)
National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (AUSMAT)