With RAT kits near impossible to find and PCR testing withdrawn NSW Health has all but walked away from Braidwood and its community. Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain is calling on the NSW Government to do more to support the Braidwood community after she was informed all PCR testing was withdrawn from the town last week.
Ms McBain wrote to the NSW Health Minister to push for better access to Covid-19 testing in Braidwood saying that what the Government is currently providing is simply not good enough.
“I have been contacted by concerned community members who are worried they have COVID-19 like symptoms but can’t get tested,” Ms McBain said.
“This is really problematic for people who need to access sick leave from work or the government pandemic support as they need a positive test to receive this assistance.
“We’re seeing cases continue to rise across the country but local supermarkets and pharmacies are still struggling to access any rapid antigen tests. Reducing PCR testing in Braidwood is another blow for the community.
“Without any rapid antigen tests in the area, Braidwood residents are now forced to travel a two hour round trip to Queanbeyan or Moruya to access PCR testing, which is particularly challenging for residents who are unable to drive themselves.
“I understand there is a lot of pressure on the health system and we are moving more towards rapid antigen tests but this only works if these rapid tests are free and available in the community.
“It beggars’ belief that the NSW Government would take away PCR testing when cases are on the rise and there is no alternative option in the town.
“The Braidwood community has done everything that’s been asked of them throughout the pandemic and now they need the Government to it’s job and ensure that people with symptoms can access a Covid test. It really is that simple.”
The Federal member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, is also calling on the Prime Minister to change his stance and make Rapid Antigen Testing kits freely available calling it “un-Australian” that some people will have to pay.
“My Office is being contacted repeatedly from people of genuine need, but they do not qualify as “concession card holders”, Mrs Phillips said.
“Take the example of Monica Bailey of Bomaderry, diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, unable to keep working and pending an application for NDIS support she does not qualify for a Health Care Card. It’s just not good enough”, Mrs Phillips said.
Mrs Phillips says “Scott Morrison’s proposal on rapid testing is to make a handful of tests free for a handful of people. Nobody should be denied a test because they can’t afford one… PCR tests are free for everyone through Medicare, RATs should be too.”