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January 23, 2022

Union says RATs need to be free for all

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The Health Services Union says Rapid Antigen Tests kits should be free and accessible to all. File photo.

The Health Services Union (HSU) says the Morrison Government must take action on Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) price gouging and ensure kits are free and accessible to all.

The HSU is calling on the Morrison Government to take urgent action and commit to providing free RAT kits, with reports tests are now being sold for us to $30 each.

HSU National President Gerard Hayes said it is disgraceful private companies are exploiting the public’s need for essential health supplies.

‘Big retailers profiteering is no different to individuals looting during a crisis. The Prime Minister needs to step in and ensure Rapid Antigen Tests are free and accessible to everyone who needs them,’ said Mr Hayes.

‘When the Morrison Government and NSW Government decided they would allow Omicron to rip through the community, they should have had a plan in place for COVID testing.

‘But there was no plan, and now our health system is currently overwhelmed and private testing clinics are temporarily closing due to the backlog of samples needed to be processed.

‘RATs can provide a quick answer to those who think they may have contracted the virus.

‘However, we cannot expect potentially COVID-positive patients to travel to multiple different shops to find RATs, and then pay through the nose for them.

‘Many people cannot afford to make ends meet week to week, let alone budget for $150 or more in Rapid Antigen Tests for their family.

‘The NSW Department of Fair Trading has already received complaints of price gouging and the Morrison Government must take action immediately.

‘Profiteering from RATs goes against the basic principles of free universal healthcare which Australia has prided itself on for decades.’


 

Recent stories, information and updates regarding COVID-19

January 21 National Cabinet on Omicron, RATs, vax and treatments

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a media release about yesterday's meeting of the National Cabinet.

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Biz step up to feed frontline staff

Local paramedics will be able to get free coffee and snacks at selected local cafes, as part of a major community effort to support frontline health workers during the ongoing and increasing COVID-19 outbreak.

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Hospitals under strain

With ever increasing pressure on health services across the nation and locally, how are health staff coping – and are there enough ICU beds and ventilators to cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases?

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1,114 cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Rivers in last 24...

The Northern NSW Local Health District say that to 8pm yesterday, January 17, there were confirmed 1,114 new PCR cases of COVID-19.

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The Greens launch NurseKeeper for nurses and paramedics

The Greens have written to the Premier to ask him to immediately introduce ‘NurseKeeper’ to urgently introduce pandemic pay and bonuses for nurses and paramedics. 

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Lung specialist ‘we’re doing the best we can’ and Hazzard lays...

At this morning's COVID-19 update press conference, Concord and Nepean Hospitals lung specialist Dr Lucy Morgan gave an update on COVID-19. Dr Morgan says she works as part of a team of people looking after patients with COVID.

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Northern NSW Local Health District COVID update for January 14

The Northern NSW Local Health District reports that to 8pm last night, January 13, there were 905 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the District – this figure does not include positive rapid antigen tests (RAT) for the reporting period.

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Record breaking day of COVID deaths as Hillsong sings and dances...

As New South Wales breaks another COVID record with 29 lives lost in a single day, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke to the media this morning with an update on the pandemic.

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The PM’s report from the National Cabinet meeting yesterday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a media statement about the meeting yesterday of the National Cabinet.

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What do you do next if you test positive to COVID?

With more than a third of callers to the National Coronavirus Helpline asking about isolation, healthdirect has launched a guide to help those who are COVID-19 positive know what they should do while isolating at home and when to seek medical help.

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Israel and Palestine

As an apologist for Israel, Michael Burd (Letters, 12 January) conveniently ignores the harsh truth of Israel’s brutal oppression, while claiming there are two...

Greens Mandy Nolan to hold community forum in support of nurses and paramedics

Locally and across the state nurses, and paramedics are struggling in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as they are being asked to do double shifts and manage effectively in health system that is struggling to cope. This has led to an increasing number of nurses and paramedics resigning.

NSW COVID update on COVID deaths – vax stats and comorbidities

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet again opened his COVID update with condolences to families who have lost loved ones, and thanks to the  ‘inspirational work of our health workers'.

January 21 National Cabinet on Omicron, RATs, vax and treatments

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a media release about yesterday's meeting of the National Cabinet.