Protective medical equipment availability, not consulting politicians on the decision to build a field hospital, and the lack of a published pandemic plan are among the concerns Reform Jersey has raised in a letter to the Chief Minister.
In her letter, the party's Chair, Lyndsay Feltham, said that while Reform would continue to promote the correct methods to address the current pandemic, they required more “reassurance and consultation about the approaches taken”.
She explained that her letter, penned on behalf of sitting States Members and the wider party, aimed to gain clarification and express “genuine concerns” raised by frontline workers.
Among the “immediate areas of concern” listed in the document is the availability of “effective and fully suitable PPE” - not only for hospitals and frontline health staff, but also in private, Parish, and government-run care homes.
Pictured: Reform Jersey wants clarification over the availability of PPE.
The letter also questions the availability of medical protective equipment and support for the wider front-line working population across both government and Parish-operated public services, as well as those in essential employment, such as shop workers.
Earlier this month, during a Scrutiny hearing with the Corporate Services Panel, Chief Executive Charlie Parker said that more guidance was due to differentiate which grades of protection need to be worn by different workers.
He also explained the government had been working centralise the distribution of the kit locally, while drawing on supply chains in Europe as well as “diplomatic channels”.
Pictured: Construction has started on the field hospital at Millbrook playing fields.
But Reform Jersey also wants to understand why States Members – including Reform’s own elected representatives - were not briefed on the decision to build a £14.4 million “Nightingale” field hospital on Millbrook playing fields.
“In particular we want to be briefed on the timeline for its use, anticipated type of use, and its expected numbers of patients,” Ms Feltham’s letter notes.
Jersey’s only political party is also seeking clarification on the plans for testing islanders for covid-19, as well as immunity to the virus, and how the data will be used to protect the community “as we return to normal life”.
Pictured: Jersey's testing facility is now up and running.
Finally, Reform is calling for the publication of a pandemic plan “that would give public confidence that the Government has been planning ahead for potential scenarios”.
“We would like formal assurances regarding the issues listed, in terms of: the adequacy of the response, the future plans, and the underlying concern of the safety of health and other essential workers,” Ms Feltham wrote.
“Following the immediate action required, there will also need to be an assessment of how our government was prepared for this type of crisis e.g. how our previous PPE provision affected our preparedness."
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