I go straight from one Greg to another. This time, it’s the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Minister, good morning.
Good morning, Ray.
Well, we’ll have a discussion now and I guess you’re greatly disappointed about what happened in Brisbane to start with, with those two people, 88 and 94, given an overdose, and then you being lied to by the organisation who employed the contractor doctor to give them the overdose.
Look, obviously and clearly. The big context we’re now at, on the figures I’ve just received, 23,000 vaccinations around the country. Aged care is, around the country, doing incredibly well, over 6,500 vaccinations.
There was an incident in Brisbane where a doctor didn’t do the training, did administer an incorrect dose, similar to the doses that were being used in clinical trials. Both of the patients, an 88-year-old male and a 94-year-old female were taken to hospital for observation.
All advice is that they were absolutely well, and the male stayed in hospital because he was due to have elective surgery, and I think that’s a sign as to how confident they are about his circumstances.
And the last advice I had speaking to the Chief Medical Officer in the region yesterday is that the older woman was due to come home back to her residential aged care facility. So the important thing is they’re perfectly safe, and well, and healthy.
But at the same time, we took very strong action against the company. They have replaced the CEO. They have put in place additional senior management. We’ve put in place a former Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer of Australia, and there’s additional support that’s gone in.
And we’ve stood up an additional provider for the residential aged care facility, Sonic, which I think is known to many people around Australia, one of Australia’s outstanding health companies.
They are actually starting today. They’re obviously starting slowly to be cautious and then they’ll build up and up.
And we’re at, as of yesterday, over 90 aged care facilities have been completed, and will be around about 110 aged care facilities by the end of today. So it’s working, but that was a significant and unacceptable issue, but it’s a pretty strong response.
Okay. Let’s get to yesterday. Chris O’Keefe from 9News reported to me that a stack of aged care facilities that he had contacted didn’t get their dose, we had older people waiting there at 8 o’clock in the morning; 9 o’clock, they’re told they’re not coming.
Was this a logistic problem? Who’s to blame for this? I think DHL got a mention. I can’t trust them to deliver shoes on behalf of my daughter to my residence, so I don’t know how they go with delivering these important vaccines.
No. To be fair, DHL has been operating almost faultlessly. They, I think, delivered to over 392 orders as of yesterday, and 453,000 kilometres.
What happened here, exactly the same company, exactly the same people, once they were put under intense scrutiny about their safety and protocols, they decided to scale back and slow down.
Unfortunately, they notified people by email, 10.45 at night, that means that unless somebody was monitoring that exact email. So that was why we really took very strong action with the company.
Firstly, about the fact that they’d breached the protocols and not been honest about it. But secondly, when they let down the facility. So that’s, the two are actually quite linked.
But new management. It’s company that’s been used right around the country, long, good history.
This wasn’t acceptable. We were pretty, well, as you can see, we’ve been very strong and brought on an additional provider. So, legitimate story yesterday. I’m glad Chris ran it; it’s put everybody on notice.
When you look at those figures already, the fact there are 6,500 senior Australians in aged care that have been vaccinated, all going well on all reports. And over 90 facilities by yesterday, over 110 facilities by today. And I think that’s the big picture of Australia beginning its vaccination program.
Alright. We’ll leave it there. So, not DHL. But it’s hard to imagine that a leading company involved in healthcare can bugger it up so badly in consecutive days, but they have. I appreciate your time. Thanks very much.
Greg Hunt, Federal Health Minister there.