Media Releases

AMA (WA) supports private hospital doctors to refuse treatment to COVID-19 cruise ship passengers

Sunday March 29, 2020

The Australian Medical Association (WA) today said they supported Doctors in WA’s private hospitals withdrawing services to COVID-19 positive cruise ship passengers and crew as a safety issue.

AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said he had written to Doctors this afternoon, including Anaesthetists and Intensivists, and advised them not to be involved in the care, including emergency care of passengers who are being transferred to private hospital facilities.

“Private hospital Doctors have not been trained and equipped and it is unreasonable for them to be called on to do this when there is an obvious alternative of using the public hospitals,” he said.

“The obvious lack of individual and team training, and equipment at this time would make any such care unsafe for patients, other staff and the Doctor.

“It also contaminates clean hospitals that do a huge amount of urgent work.”

Under an agreement between the State and Federal governments, COVID-19 positive passengers and crew who have been on cruise ships and docked in WA, are to be treated at private hospitals.

“Doctors cannot be required to participate in unsafe care when there is a safer alternative readily available in public facilities,” Dr Miller said.

“The AMA (WA) will support any doctor who withdraws their service in these circumstances.”

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