The chief executive of Anglicare has said “in hindsight” he would have sent all Covid-19 positive residents at the Newmarch House aged care home to hospital immediately, suggesting the decision to keep them at the facility came from government, The Guardian reports.
Eighteen residents of Newmarch House, in western Sydney, have died and a further 71 cases are associated with the facility at the centre of one of the country’s worst outbreaks.
Grant Millard told ABC radio on Monday morning things should have been done differently.
“Look, if I had the time again I would be insisting people who are Covid positive go to hospital,” Millard said.
“In hindsight that would have been my preference.”
Later in the interview, Millard stepped back slightly from those remarks, suggesting a case-by-case approach.
“These people are actually in their own home. You know, that’s where they’re comfortable … It’s not as clear-cut as saying, ‘get someone to the hospital’. But I think given the scale of the outbreak here, given the challenges with staffing, and at the same time we heard that they were no elective surgeries and lots of hospital staff around, it does beg the question about whether they should have just gone to hospital.”
Millard has distanced himself from the decision to treat the majority of residents who tested positive at the home.
“I think there was a containment strategy by state health, and we complied with that and a ‘hospital at home’ program was implemented,” he said. “I do understand with the public health outbreak at the time there were real concerns about not wanting to have another Ruby Princess.”
The Newmarch outbreak is believed to have begun when an infected staff member came to work multiple times with extremely mild symptoms.