The Government’s ‘major investment’ for personal protective equipment announced today is another example of it being too slow to act, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“Today Minister of Health David Clark claimed the Government has ‘stepped up its support’ in the response to Covid-19, but this rings hollow to many frontline health workers.

“The $200 million Dr Clark is claiming is not new money or new investment, it was clearly set aside for PPE in the 17 March $12 billion package. The Government has chosen not to spend it yet, despite many frontline health workers crying out for more PPE.

“If the Government had spent this investment when it was first announced, then the majority of the PPE needed could have been in New Zealand already by now and be in use.

“Instead, the Government has waited until 128 healthcare workers have tested positive for Covid-19 before finally fronting up with the equipment needed. The Government has also said this PPE is going to arrive over the next eight weeks which will be of little comfort to those who need it now.

“While the initial peak of cases has passed, the Government needs to expect significant demand for PPE for several months yet and plan accordingly, rather than be constantly playing catch up.” 

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