Territory Stories

The Centralian Advocate Fri 8 Oct 2021



The Centralian Advocate Fri 8 Oct 2021


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

Publisher name

News Corp Australia

Place of publication



Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

Copyright owner

News Corp Australia



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

FRIDAY OCTOBER 8 2021 NEWS 05 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA FASTER VISAS WANTED FOR OVERSEAS NURSES THE NT government has written to its federal counterparts urging them to speed up visa applications for nurses, doctors and other health workers looking to move here from overseas. The step comes amid concerns about nursing shortages both in the Territory and around the nation. Health Minister Natasha Fyles on Thursday confirmed she had lobbied Canberra to streamline the process. I have written to the commonwealth government seeking their support to enable the fast-tracking of visa approvals for overseas doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professional to help fill staffing gaps, Ms Fyles said. It comes amid reports that the Top Ends hospital system is short-staffed to the tune of up to 100 nurses. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation NT branch secretary Cath Hatcher said earlier this week the NTs hospital system would need between 50 and 100 nurses in Darwin alone, and then further staff in regional and remote locations. (NT Health) does really need a good shake-up and it needs to be nurturing and caring, Ms Hatcher said. On Thursday, Scott Morrison urged state and territory leaders to get their healthcare systems prepared for an influx of Covid-19 patients. The Prime Minister, however, acknowledged many Covid-free jurisdictions were already under pressure. Were seeing stresses on hospital systems in other states, in the territories, which have nothing to do with Covid, he said. THOMAS MORGAN NT Health back OUR HEALTH CRISIS: NT GOVTS PLANS TO FIX IT READ THE FULL CAMPAIGNNTNEWS.COM.AU 05 More graduate nurses promised to address RDH staff shortages HEALTH Minister Natasha Fyles has promised to hire more graduate nurses and midwives to address shortages across the Territorys strained healthcare system. The government has vowed the extra graduate nurses next year will be attracted to the Northern Territory by a clear pathway to permanent employment in NT Health. Ms Fyles announcement follows a week-long campaign on the poor health of the Royal Darwin and Palmerston Hospitals by the NT News, looking at how the crumbling system could be fixed. Ms Fyles said the NT government would increase the number of graduate nurses and midwives employed across NT Health from 167 to at least 201 by January 2022. All graduates have the opportunity to apply for employment in the Territory and 85 per cent of graduates from the most recent cohort were employed with NT Health after completion, she said. In addition, the Department of Health runs constant recruitment campaigns to fill health staffing shortages in the Territory. Ms Fyles also said action was being taken to reduce the number of beds being taken up by aged-care residents. She said Regis Aged Care was allocating 21 beds to NT Health. The commonwealth government has also provisionally funded 60 new aged-care beds and we look forward to seeing further progress on this, Ms Fyles said. She acknowledged the mental health space had been placed under intense stress in recent years, and promised a new jointly-funded $30m mental health inpatient facility at the Royal Darwin Hospital would be built in coming months. It would include 18 beds but Ms Fyles did not provide an opening date for the new facility. The extra graduate nurses will provide some relief to staff on the ground, who have been stretched to the limit in recent months. Our frontline health workers do an outstanding job and I understand the significant pressure they are under given the challenging circumstances of the pandemic, which has exacerbated staffing shortages, Ms Fyles said. Nursing shortages have had a major impact on the performance of NT Health in recent weeks. Royal Darwin Hospital was placed into a Code Yellow last week, causing some non-essential surgeries to be cancelled. The RDH was only brought out of Code Yellow after a third of Palmerston Regional Hospitals emergency department was shuttered. Prominent medical experts in the Territory have in recent days called for urgent action to bring in nursing staff to ease the shortage. Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation branch president Thomas Fowles urged the government to abandon plans for a pay freeze of healthcare workers and instead throw money at urgent recruitment. The AMA pushed for an arrangement used to fly mango-pickers from the Pacific Islands into the Territory to be used as a model for bringing in overseas nurses. E XC L U S I V E THOMAS MORGAN The NT government will hire more graduate nurses for Royal Darwin Hospital (pictured) and Palmerston Regional Hospital. Picture: Che Chorley Repurpose Palmerston Hospital. Convert part of it into an aged-care facility, freeing up 50 beds at RDH that are being used for people who should be in nursing homes. Another section should be transformed into a specialist mental health facility. It should revert to its original intended use a tier-two facility with no ED to take the pressure off spreading staff thin between RDH and Palmerston. Fly 50 to 100 nurses into Darwin from overseas, in the same way mango and watermelon pickers are being flown into the NT now. This could include international health workers to work in the Howard Springs quarantine facility to free up local nurses. Buy and convert homes to use for aged and disability care. The short-term measure would take pressure off RDH while a new 60-bed aged-care home is built Scrap fixed-term contracts, such as those for junior doctors, in favour of permanent positions within NT Health. This measure would provide job certainty and security to health professionals looking to relocate to the NT. Scrap the mooted merging of the Top End and Central Australian medical services. Decentralisation is vital to ensure local decision making to ensure the most appropriate health care where its needed. Redeploy the 35 contract nursing staff who have belatedly joined the Covid vaccination program as it comes to an end. Holistic whole of government response needed to address urgent NT Indigenous health issues. Improving housing (specifically overcrowding) and education will lead to better outcomes. Immediately launch urgent doctor and nurses recruitment drive to arrest declining morale and scrap the NT public service pay freeze for doctors and nurses which is driving staff to take up jobs elsewhere. The ideas so far TUESDAY OCTOBER 5 2021 NEWS 05 V3 - NTNE01Z01MA AGED-CARE patients atRoyal Darwin and PalmerstonRegional hospitals will start totransition to Regis Aged Care,in a bid to stem the shortage ofhospital beds and providemore specialised care.From Tuesday, two aged-care residents at the hospitalswill move to the aged-carefacility and a further two resi-dents will be transferred on aweekly basis until all allocatedbeds are filled. An NT government spokes-man said a total of 21 aged-carepatients would be transferredout of the hospital system andinto the aged-care facilitybefore Christmas. The spokesman said RegisAged Care had allocated 21beds to the Territory this yearand those beds were now avail-able to NT Health. He said NT Health wouldprovide further staff to RegisAged Care to manage the tran-sition. The federal governmentthis year provisionally funded60 aged care beds for the NT.Health Minister NatashaFyles said the NT governmentwas working with the federalgovernment to ease capacitypressures at Royal Darwin andPalmerston Regional hospitalsand get more aged-care facilitybeds online. We now have confir-mation that Regis Aged Carewill accept 21 aged-carepatients from Royal Darwinand Palmerston Hospital, MsFyles said. I thank the com-monwealth government forprovisionally funding 60 aged-care beds in the Territory andlook forward to seeing furtherprogress. The AustralianNursing and Midwifery Feder-ation NT branch secretaryCath Hatcher on Monday sug-gested the government buyand convert homes to use foraged and disability care as ashort-term measure to takepressure off the Top End hos-pital system while a new 60-bed aged-care facility was builtin the NT. MORE AGED CARE BEDS THE sound of inevitability hasnever rung clearer than lastThursday, when the NT Newsbroke the story that the emer-gency department at the Palm-erston Regional Hospital(PRH) would be scaled back.It was the first necessarystep in correcting a decisionthat has had a massive impacton the ability to properly oper-ate hospital services in the TopEnd. Rather than reducing theburden on our hospital system,PRH has made things worse.The NT government hasalways had difficulty staffingone hospital. How could it beexpected to staff two? Theoriginal plans for the PRHmade sense. It was meant to bea tier-two facility that couldcomplement Royal DarwinHospital (RDH). But politicssoon took over. An emergencydepartment was added eventhough there is no intensivecare unit. Now anyone needing seri-ous medical attention is trans-ferred to Royal Darwin byCareFlight ambulance at a costof at least $1.3m a year.A maternity unit was alsoincluded, but with no midwivesto service it. Criticism of the PRH is usu-ally met with objectionsdetailing stories of the facilitiesand wonderful treatment fromthe staff who work there. Thishas never been in question. Butits those same staff whose jobsare being made more difficultby being spread across twocampuses of the one hospital,as the spin doctors like to say.Sixteen months after thePRH opened a journalist inno-cently inquired of DidierPalmer, the executive directorof Royal Darwin and Palmer-ston hospitals, if it had relievedsome of the pressure at RDH.No, was the blunt reply. Infact it created more demand. When the hospital opened, Time to repurpose Palmo hospital Politicians know the situation is untenable the nearby GP superclinic wassoon forced to reduce its hours.Clients who probably onlyneeded to see a GP were front-ing up at the hospital emerg-ency department instead.Last month, during the firstof Septembers two code yel-lows at RDH, an emergencydepartment doctor posted astory on social media about a100-bed shortage at RDH.The 100-bed shortage hasbeen known about for years,they said. No increase in capacity.Staff leaving in droves.But they spent $250m on apolitically motivated white ele-phant 20 minutes up the road.One of the few benefits ofhaving such a woefully under-staffed health system is thatthose who work there can dropthe odd truth bomb withoutfear of the sack. At a crisis meeting lastmonth, some senior hospitalstaff argued the PalmerstonED needed to close. An interimcompromise was reached buteven with part of the Palmer-ston ED offline, it is still heap-ing pressure on RDH. Serious consideration needsto be given to the repurposingof the Palmerston RegionalHospital. There are severaloptions that could be consid-ered. Part of the hospital couldbe converted into an aged-carefacility, freeing up 50 beds atRDH that are being used forpeople who should be in nurs-ing homes. Perhaps anothersection could be transformedinto a specialist mental healthfacility. Or maybe it should revert toits original intended use atier-two facility with no emer-gency department to take thepressure off RDH.The politicians know thepresent situation is untenable. But will they be braveenough to act? MATT CUNNINGHAM IS THE SKY NEWS DARWIN BUREAU CHIEF O P I N I O N Empty beds at the Palmerston Regional Hospital Emergency Department. There are calls to repurpose the facility. OUR HEALTH CRISIS: A BETTER USE OF STAFF, FACILITIES READ MORE 5NTNEWS.COM.AU Urgent and expensive recruitment is needed immediately: AustralianSalaried Medical Officers Federation branch president Dr Thomas Fowles More fundingfrom the federalgovernment: AMA NT president Dr Robert Parker Purpose builtaged care homes:Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation NT branch secretary Cath Hatcher THE SOLUTIONS SO FAR WE ARE CATHOLICEDUCATION IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORYA network of schools that create a lifetime of connections WE HAVE FAITH IN THEIR FUTURE Enrolments are now open, with interviews available face to face, or via phone or skype. Join us in 2022. EARLY LEARNING | PRIMARY | SECONDARY | BOARDING www.ceont.catholic.edu.au 04 NEWS WEDNESDAY OCTO BER 6 2021 NTNE01Z01MA V1 THE scientist wh ose company developed the first Covid-19 vaccine along w ith Pfizer says a new version of the shot may be needed next y ear to protect against the virus . BioNTechs co-fo under and CEO Dr Ugur S ahin said that while booster sho ts were effec tive against cu rrent strains, including the con tagious Delta variant, new variants will emerge that can evade booster shots and the bo dys immune defences. This year (a dif ferent vac cine) is complet ely unneeded, but by mid-next year, it could be a different situation, he said. This is a continuous evolution, and t hat evolution has just started. The companys b ooster shot uses the same f ormula as its original two-dose vaccine. But Mr Sahin sai d next year could call for n ew formulas that are tailore d to specifi cally target featu res of the new variants. The co -founder and chief medical of ficer of BioN Tech, Dr Ozlem Tureci, who is also Mr Sahins wife, said last week that Covid booster shots may be needed every 12 to 18 months. New vax version needed ADELLA BEAINI OUR HEALTH CRISIS: THE SOLUTIONS 4 PALMERSTON REGION AL HOSPITAL NEEDS T O BE REPURPOSED ... BUT WILL OUR POL ITICIANS BE BRAVE EN OUGH TO ACT? Matt Cunningham, Sk y News Darwin Bureau chief, set the challeng e on Day 2 of the NT N ews Our Health Crisi s campaign. Heres wha t you said. Well, Nightcliff Matt the 38,000 residents of Palmers ton mainly young families rem ember the 40 minute late night drives to a crowded RDH Emerg ency Dept. Were a young city e.g. Bakewell Primary School is the biggest in the NT, with 900 stu dents and 5 Transition classes. KYM Move the elderly tha t should be in nursing homes the re and the mental health patien ts to make room at RDH so whe n delta finally gets here, and it will, we have the capacity to look afte r Covid patients. Otherwise w e will be playing catch up and scrambling at the last minute to find beds. We should be prepar ing for an outbreak before it ha ppens because my bet is it will. KRISTY Matt needs to spend a night in the surgical ward, no isy understaffed crampe d, mental patients mixed in the wards some with one-on-one min ders, a real danger to health. PETER Sadly there is a cultu re in Darwin of visiting the hospit al for any scrape or pain, rathe r than booking an appointm ent at a GP. Many of those taking up a bed in ED at RDH are there to be monitored as they sl eep off alcohol. Matt Cunnin gham probably hasnt had a need to visit Palmerstons ED but I have twice! It is a great co mfort knowing emergency help was only 5 minutes away , rather than 25. So Mr Cunningha m, as an experienced journali st (aka opinionator) how do you envision a repurposed PRH lo ok, what should it have, or ha ve not? REDZEE All that was needed was already there in the form of the so-called Super Clin ic. As Matt Cunningham pointed out in his column. There never was a sensible argument fo r PRH As others have noted : Only a political argument designed to buy votes. DAVE WANE People dont go to th e SuperClinic anymore as it costs m oney. I have always wondered wh y hospitals dont have a Dr surge ry next door so that scrapes and n on emergency cases can be seen so that they dont have to be admitted to hospital . It would free up beds and tak e the pressure off. Drunks should not be admitted, take th em to a sobering up shelter. MATTHEW Maybe because peop le dont want to pay for a do ctor if theres a free hospital servic e? YVETTE This whole debacle l ies at the feet of Health manageme nt. Ministers generally only follow what they tell them. Im no fan of Labor but sacking a heap of ex ecutive levels from all Depts of Gov t would certainly free up mo ney. Also why not move an Aborigi nal health organisation to the R DH grounds to operate as a relief valve for A&E. TITA Matt has never been a fan of PRH from day one so an a rticle like this from him is not u nexpected. The simple solution i s for the NT government to alloc ate enough budget to cover the staff needed to make PRH a decen t function hospital. But no they would prefer to waste $12 m illion on a grandstand for the D arwin Turf Club and any other o f their pet projects. The list of w asted limited funds is very long. Did the extra staff needed to work at HS come out of the Hea lth budget or was that a separate b udget allocation? ROSEMARY NO, it is not unneces sary. RDH is NOT 20 minu tes away. For people further out in the rural areas, you know Sou th of the Berrimah line, it is an EXTRA 20 minutes away. PRH w as built for more than an extra s ervice to Darwin residents. Please get out of the Darwin centric attitude and realise that its RDH that was bui lt in the wrong place for the f uture growth of the Top End. It sho uld have been built out near P inelands. Having family and fr iends who have had a health em ergency the easy access to PRH a nd quick attention has been a bsolutely wonderful. The prob lem is this wasteful Governmen t and an obsession with muse ums, sports facilities and cultural facilities rather than required services. PHIL Employing mor e than 1000 peo ple on a daily b asis, McArthur River Mine is competingfor s kills on the inte rnational stage . Weve turned to our local comm unity in the Gul f region to help fi ll the needs ofourcomplex operation, givin g residents the opportunity to earn while they learnthrough o ur Indigenous E mployment Pro gram. Discover how w ere connecting possibilities. Local skills. A complex work ing environmen t. Whats the con nection? McArthur River Mine WEDNESDAY OCTO BER 6 2021 NEWS 05 V1 - NTNE01Z01 MA THE flu vaccine has proven to be as effective in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peo ple as it is in no n-Indigenous people for the first time, according to new research. The University of Mel bournes Katheri ne Kedzierska studied the resp onses elicited by the flu vaccin e in 78 Abor iginal and T orres Strait Islander people and 84 non Indigenous peop le. Professor Kedzie rska found robust antibody responses to influenza vaccin ation in Abor iginal and Torres Strait Island er people withi n four weeks after vaccination . Doherty Institut e research officer and pap er co-author Luca Hensen sai d while it had been recommen ded Aborigi nal and Torres S trait Islanders be vaccinated for the flu, it was not based on scientific evi dence until now. Our groups pre vious work has identified th e parameters of a good respon se to the influ enza vaccine that includes antibody respon ses and the activation and in crease in fre quency of T cell s and B cells, Dr Hensen said. She said both w ere crucial for memory resp onses. Discovery in flu vaccine ANTHONY PIOVESAN Milestone for jabs AUSTRALIA is storming to wards the first m ajor vaccine benchmark with new data re vealing 80 per c ent of the eli gible population have rolled up their sleeves to receive their first Covid jab. Health Minister Greg Hunt on Tuesday ce lebrated the milestone as a national achievement b ut cautioned there was still mo re work to be done. Thats a huge national achievement, an d its a huge tribute to everyb ody, he said. In the Territory, 65 per cent of the populati on is double vaccinated while 77 per cent have received on e dose. Calls for better holistic change A LEADING Aboriginal health expert h as said sys temic failings in Territory health requires a whole of government resp onse. Aboriginal Med ical Servi ces Alliance NT chief execu tive John Pa terson said Aboriginal heal th outcomes were worse in t he Territory because governm ents had not had a holistic app roach. One of the bi ggest pri ority areas is housing, the overcrowding of housing here and in remote co mmunities is just unacceptabl e, Mr Pater son said. It is unhealthy t o have up to 25 people (or more) resid ing in three-bedr oom homes. He said it was ab out bring ing all of govern ment to the table to discu ss housing, health, educati on, literacy and employment . Until we start a ddressing some of these underlying issues, which we ve been ad vocating and ca lling on gov ernments to act upon for a number of years now, we will see very little change, he said. We need to beg in making inroads and ad dressing the underlying issue s (in health). Together these things will reduce the str ain on the health system a nd the pres sure points we a re currently experiencing. Mr Paterson w ent on to explain governm ent and Indi genous leade rship had already agreed o n the perfect plan which was to Close the Gap. Ive been there since day dot. Ive been th roughout the whole process, discussed all the priority targ et areas that we need to impr ove on . . . but what we now ne ed is govern ment leadership and a com mitment to funding particularly to Aboriginal organisations so we can get on with doing th e job for our mob, he said. The NT News has also uncovered Abo riginal and Torres Strait Is lander com munity health services are seeing a rise in patient numbers. According to a spokes woman at Dani la Dilba, the organisation is seeing more presentations of people with urgent medical n eeds. The govern ment-run health organisat ions 2019-20 annual report sa id it treated about 102,000 people, up from almost 99, 000 the pre vious year. In comparison the same report showed h ospital emer gency departmen ts across the Northern Terri tory treated 112,000 people cu mulatively. The increased n umber of patients in prim ary health services and Ter ritory hospi tals continue to p lace the sys tem in crisis. The calls from Mr Pater son come after R oyal Darwin Hospital recorde d its fourth code yellow this year. When a code yellow is called, all categ ory two and three elective s urgeries are postponed so m edical staff can be redirected to, put sim ply, make sure our sickest patients do not d ie. Maningrida comm unity members ce lebrate after the g overnment hands over the health s ervice. AMANDA PARKINSON TOMORROW: PA RT 4 OF THE SPECIAL INVES TIGATION INTO OUR HEAL TH SYSTEM OUR HEALTH CRISIS: THE SOLUTIONS MORE NEWS NTNEWS.COM.AU 5 R 18 YOU NEED TO BE 18+ TO AT TEND THIS EVEN T BOOK ONLINEBOOK ONLINE MINDILBEACHC ASINORESORT.C OM.AU $220 PER PERSO N + TICKET FEES TUESDAY 2ND NO VEMBER 2021 THE BEACHSIDE P AVILION ENJOY A 3 COUR SE LUNCH WITH B EVERAGE PACKA GE, PLUS FASHIONS O N THE FIELD AND ENTERTAINMENT FOR AN AFTERNO ON FULL OF FUN ! 06 NEWS THURSDAY OCTOBER 7 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 ANOTHER 594 Covid-19 in-fections and 10 deaths havebeen recorded in NSW.The state is creeping closerto its freedom day with 67.7per cent of eligible residentsnow fully vaccinated.But the vaccination rate hasslowed with previous projec-tions suggesting NSW shouldhave reached the 70 per centfreedom day target on Wed-nesday. According to trackingwebsite CovidLive, NSWmight not reach the importantmilestone until October 8 andthe 80 per cent mark on Octo-ber 20. Earlier, newly appoint-ed NSW Premier DominicPerrottet said he was confidentthe state would achieve a 90per cent vaccination rate bythe end of the year.NSW Healths Dr Mari-anne Gale said more than90,000 people turned out toget tested. She said the 10deaths included seven menand three women.The main concern remainsSydneys southwest, with 144cases, and western Sydney,with 95 cases. The new figurecomes after several days of adownward trajectory in dailyinfections as the vaccinationrate continues to grow. NSW records 594 cases ERIN LYONS THE Howard Springs quaran-tine facility should be staffedby healthcare workers flownin from overseas, the CLP hassuggested, freeing up localnurses to staff our ailing RoyalDarwin Hospital. The Opposition has alsoproposed ending fixed-termcontracts and scaling up Palm-erston Regional Hospital foraged care capabilities in a bidto relieve pressure on the TopEnds collapsing medical ser-vice. The CLP has even ap-proached federal Health Min-ister Greg Hunt to considerbringing overseas nurses intoHoward Springs, the partyshealth spokesman Bill Yan hasrevealed. Mr Yan has also urged theLabor government to recon-sider combining both the TopEnd and Central Australianhealth services, saying it wastaking power away from localcommunities. It comes after the fourth THOMAS MORGAN CLPs plans for NT health The CLPs Bill Yan wants international healthcare workers at the Howard Springs facility. Code Yellow in a year was de-clared for Royal Darwin Hos-pital last week. In response, the NT Newshas been running a series ofstories looking to highlight is-sues and solutions to the TopEnds healthcare system. RECRUIT INTERNATIONALLYMR Yan wants to fly inter-national healthcare workersinto the Territory to staff theHoward Springs quarantinefacility. He said the proposal wouldhelp address concerns afterthe NT government took con-trol of the facility earlier thisyear and recruited 400 staff toexpand it. Many staffing issues in NTHealth have widely been spec-ulated to have stemmed fromthe flow of frontline workersfrom the Royal Darwin andPalmerston hospitals to How-ard Springs. Lets recruit internationalnurses to work at HowardSprings, and to undertake spe-cific Covid-related duties, like RECRUITING INTERNATIONALLY AMONG SUITE OF SOLUTIONS TO MEND OUR HEALTH SYSTEM MESS OUR HEALTH CRISIS: CLP REVEALS WHAT IT WOULD DO TO HELP FIX IT 06 Grim Qld warning QUEENSLANDERS havebeen issued a grim warning asthe states vaccination ratelags, with five specific com-munities urged to lift theirgame and get the jab. People living in the Ipswichand Logan regions near Bris-bane, the Scenic Rim town ofBeaudesert, the Gold Coastand Sunshine Coast have beenasked to front up to get vacci-nated. Queensland has nowslipped to last place among thestates and territories in thevaccination rollout. As ofWednesday, just 48.89 per centof people 16 and older weredouble vaccinated in the state. Create a legally binding Will in less than 15 minutes. Fully reviewed by expert wills & estate lawyers from just $159. Protect Your Loved Ones with a Legally-Binding Will Get Started mytributes.com.au/GetAWill THURSDAY OCTOBER 7 2021 NEWS 07 V2 - NTNE01Z01MA VICTORIA has announced itwill roll out rapid antigen teststo the states healthcare set-tings and government services,as it embraces the normal-isation of Covid-19 in thecommunity. The government will pur-chase some 2.2 million teststhroughout the states health-care system before expandingto riskier settings such asschools, childcare, correctionsand emergency services.The testing will also be usedto manage close contacts andfor triage patients seekingaccess to urgent care.There will of course be anopportunity for industry andfor domestic use and for otherareas of the Victorian com-munity to incorporate rapidtesting, Health Minister Mar-tin Foley said. It will be part ofthe ongoing toolkit to makesure that we can manage anddeal with the potential forCovid in our daily lives.Victorias Covid-19 testingrate has come under scrutinyas figures reveal its neighbour-ing state recorded almostdouble the amount of tests ascases peaked above 1000.The state reported 1420 newcases of Covid on Wednesdayfrom 71,451 tests in the pre-vious 24 hours. By comparison,NSW was recording an aver-age of 124,534 tests as cases inthe state reached more than a1000 each day. The numbershave raised concerns, withsome experts adamant morecases would be found if thestate pushed for more tests.Australian National Uni-versity infectious diseases ex-pert Peter Collignon hasestimated Victoria could ident-ify about 10 to 20 per centmore cases each day if testingnumbers doubled.What worries me is that ifyou look at testing in Victoria,its population is similar toNSW but (testing) is at leasthalf, if not one-third, of whatits been in NSW, he said. New tool in Vics Covid fight RHIANNON TUFFIELD Royal Darwin Hospital has been in crisis mode with the fourth Code Yellow in a year declared last week. swabbing and contact tracing and bring back our NThealth professionals from theCentre of National Resilienceto Royal Darwin Hospital andacross the NT, to alleviatepressure on our main tertiaryhospital and our broaderhealth system, Mr Yan said.He also called on the NTgovernment to hand back con-trol of Howard Springs to thecommonwealth. NO CUTS TO PALMOTHE CLP has vowed itwouldnt cut emergency de-partment staffing at the Palm erston Regional Hospital,saying tens of thousands ofTerritorians living in Palmer-ston and the rural areashouldnt be punished.But at the same time, the fa-cility should be scoped out forother uses to help ease pres-sure on Royal Darwin Hospi-tal. Palmerston Hospitalshould be explored to care foraged care and dementia pa-tients, as well as mental healthpatients, while the Gunnergovernment constructs long-overdue dedicated facilities,Mr Yan said. NO MORE CONTRACTSTHE CLP has called forfixed-term contracts, such asthose for junior doctors, to bedone away with in favour ofpermanent positions withinNT Health. This measure, Mr Yan saidwould provide job certaintyand security to health profes-sionals looking to relocate tothe NT. The CLP supports animmediate and targeted re-cruitment campaign for prop-erly trained internationalnurses and other health carestaff to be brought to the Ter-ritory, he said. STALL THE MERGERA MOOTED merging ofthe Top End and Central Aus-tralian medical services,branded internally as BetterTogether by NT Health,should be scrapped accordingto the CLP. Mr Yan, whose seat Nam-atjira surrounds Alice Springs,expressed concern about themerger which was passed inlegislation in May and couldlead to the scrapping of localhealth decision-making.We need local decisionmaking to ensure the most ap-propriate health care is tail ored for Territorians whetherthey live in Karama or Kinto-re, Mr Yan said. He said decentralisationwas vital to ensure decision-making isnt solely drivenfrom Darwin and to avoidconfusion within the depart-ment as well as in the regionsand remote communities.Mr Yan said NT Healthneeded to be brought backinto shape, in order to addresschronic health issues in thecommunity which contributedto the Territorys high rates ofalcohol-related harm and viol-ence. Palmerston Hospital should be explored to care for aged care and dementia patients CLP Health spokesman Bill Yan RECRUITING INTERNATIONALLY AMONG SUITE OF SOLUTIONS TO MEND OUR HEALTH SYSTEM MESS OUR HEALTH CRISIS: CLP REVEALS WHAT IT WOULD DO TO HELP FIX IT MORE NEWSNTNEWS.COM.AU 07 SCAN HERE L I V E S T R E A M E D O N N T N E W S . C O M . A U DONT MISS ANY OF THIS SEASONS NTFL ACTION We will spend time fi nding thehearing device that is best for you.Call our friendly team today. The Territorys only nationally accredited and independent audiologists. We dont believeone size fi ts all. Local Professionals, Global Technology Darwin City - Cullen Bay - Coolalinga - Katherine - Gove - Alice Springs Ph: 8981 0013arafuraaudiology.com.au French language subjects offered from 2022 ENROL NOW. Places are limited. mackillopnt.catholic.edu.au/enrol Open 7 days a week - 8am - 5pm 35 Arnhem Hwy, McMinns Lagoon 8988 1351 Our friendly staff have extensive landscaping and plant knowledge!