Federal Government deploys Newmarch team to St Basil’s – as union alleges staff raised infection control concerns

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Aspen Medical, the company contracted to provide ‘surge’ staffing to operators that experience COVID-19 outbreaks, has been called in to help contain Victoria’s largest aged care outbreak at St Basil’s for the Aged at Fawkner in Melbourne’s north where cases have climbed to 73.

The Aged Care Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck, said Aspen staff would be working with Victorian Government health workers to support residents.

“Aspen Clinical First Responders continue to work onsite, helping to ensure strict adherence to infection prevention and control protocols including the use of PPE, hand hygiene, and cleaning,” he said.

Senator Colbeck also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of hospital transfers for some residents over the next few days.

“The decision on hospital transfers will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the resident’s medical needs and the clinical advice of the experts managing the outbreak,” he said.

The news comes as the Health Workers Union alleged its members from St Basil’s had said personal protective equipment (PPE) practices were poor at the home.

The union says the workers claim the use of masks and gloves was only mandated this week and a sick resident was not isolated despite constant coughing and sneezing.

All staff at St Basil’s went into self-isolation this week and will need to test negative before they can return to work.