RATs – Another Government Failing

The government has repeatedly failed to deliver the tools frontline health workers need to do their jobs - those are the words of one Dunedin doctor.

Daniel Pettigrew said his practice has been waiting a week to get supplies of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and does not know when they will arrive. In the meantime, he has had to tell patients to go elsewhere.

"Through the pandemic we've had issues with PPE, we've had issues with vaccinations, whether they're Covid vaccinations or that first year we had issues with flu vaccine rollout and a lot of it was just logistics of getting these items into the hands of general practices.”

Health services have reported high demand from people wanting the tests, and the Ministry of Health dispatched 5.2 million RATs in the last week.

Many businesses and employees are are also calling out for RATs, a vital resource in keeping businesses going and employees in work.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Morning Report supply of RATs depended on how heavy the demand was in each region.

College of General Practitioners medical director Dr Bryan Betty said the demand was not unexpected because the latest variant was spreading rapidly throughout the country. However, there had been delays delivering the tests to health services.