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Unacceptable to take frustrations out on health staff: WNSWLHD chief

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23 December 2021

​Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) Acting Chief Executive Mark Spittal has warned people not to take their COVID-19 frustrations out on local healthcare staff.

“Every single one of our staff have been under incredible pressure for almost two years as a result of the pandemic. They deserve nothing but respect and gratitude,” Mr Spittal said.

“Unfortunately, some people are frustrated about the time it’s taking for COVID-19 test results to come back and they are taking that out on our staff and that is not acceptable.

“If you are waiting for a result, don’t call the health service where you were tested – the staff there can’t make your results come back any faster and people abusing them isn’t going to change that.

“Right now, it’s likely that test results will take at least 72 hours to come back and in some cases it will be longer. We all wish it could be faster than that but right now there is a peak in demand that all service providers are doing their best to keep pace with.

“Regardless of why you’re interacting with our team, please show some patience and respect because they are doing the absolute best job they can for you and for all of the communities in our District.

“We are all facing a difficult Christmas, the level of transmission of COVID-19 continues to increase and in the latest reporting period we saw our highest number of cases in a single day since this outbreak started – 65.

“We have seen a number of hotspots pop up, in locations like Dubbo, and with that increasing transmission comes an increasing number of people needing and wanting to be tested.

“That means those people are facing waiting times for result. People who want to travel, particularly to some other states, are facing the same situation.

“We understand that’s frustrating but I guarantee you that the person in front of you in the hospital, or who answered the phone when you called, is only trying to help. Do not take your frustration out on them.”

Mr Spittal reiterated his message from earlier in the day​ that the key message around the Christmas and New Year holiday is to be prepared, and not take unnecessary risks.

“This holiday period is different to previous years, because there is a risk of spreading both Omicron and Delta every time you leave your home or gather with other people,” he said.

“Plan ahead, be prepared. Have a ‘Plan C’ in place so that you can safely manage if you or someone in your household needs to isolate. If you’re going out, limit the number of events or venues you go to, particularly young adults.

“And if you do receive a message asking you to contact NSW Health, don’t ignore it. COVID-19 is a dangerous illness and we need you to make contact so we can assess the risk to you and to others.”