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Independent Review of the Response to the North-West Tasmania COVID-19 Outbreak

Submissions are now being called for the Independent Review into the North-West COVID-19 Outbreak. Submissions are due on August 14th.  In order for our office to be able to collate any responses from the AMA, could you please send Lara your thoughts by Monday the 10th of August– next Monday. Some of you may prefer to put in your own submission to the inquiry, particularly for those of you who were directly involved.

http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/independent_review_of_the_response_to_the_north-west_tasmania_covid-19_outbreak

The Premier has established an Independent Review to consider the actions, and effectiveness of those actions, taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North-West Tasmania by government agencies, public and private health care facilities, and other relevant authorities.

Greg Melick AO SC has been appointed as the Independent Reviewer. An eminent member of Australia’s legal community, he practises as a barrister and mediator in several jurisdictions in both criminal and civil matters. He is also Chief Commissioner and Chair of the Board of Tasmania’s Integrity Commission.

An expert working group is being established to advise the Independent Reviewer with members experienced in public health, hospital administration, and public sector administration.

Timeframe and scope

The Final Report, including findings and recommendations, is expected to be delivered by the Independent Reviewer by the end of October 2020, subject to the spread of COVID-19 over that timeframe and possible impacts on the availability of personnel.

Objectives

The Review will consider the actions, and effectiveness of those actions, taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North-West Tasmania by government agencies, public and private health care facilities and any other relevant authorities.

The Independent Reviewer will:

I.        Provide an opportunity to persons with a proper interest in the subject matter of this review to make submissions about that subject matter and, if thought necessary, to be heard personally in relation those matters;

II.        Ensure that where necessary appropriate confidentiality arrangements are made for persons assisting the inquiry; and

III.        Ensure the lived experience of North West Coast patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and those placed in quarantine are taken account of.

The Review will cover any other matter relevant to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the North West that the Independent Reviewer identifies in the course of Review activities as warranting investigation and discussion.

Terms of Reference

Following consultation the final Terms of Reference were released on 24 July 2020. (NB: TOR copied below)

Call for Submissions to the Review

Submissions are now invited to the Review. Information provided through submissions to the Review will be considered to ensure we have a responsible and transparent approach to Tasmania’s response and management of COVID-19

Submissions are open until 5pm, Friday, 14 August 2020. Written submissions can be submitted by email or post to:

Email

NWOutbreakReview@dpac.tas.gov.au

Post

Independent Review North-West Tasmania
GPO Box 1
Hobart, TAS 7001.

Other than indicated below, submissions will be treated as public information and will be published on the DPAC website.

No personal information other than an individual’s name or the organisation making a submission will be published.

Accessibility of submissions

The Government recognises that not all individuals or groups are equally placed to access and understand information.  We are therefore committed to ensuring Government information is accessible and easily understood by people with diverse communication needs

Where possible, please consider typing your submission in plain English and providing it in a format such as Microsoft Word or equivalent.

The Government cannot take responsibility for the accessibility of documents provided by third parties.

Important information to note

Your name (or the name of the organisation) will be published unless you request otherwise.

In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be treated as confidential (or parts of the submission), the Department will treat the submission as public.

If you would like your submission treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please indicate this in writing at the time of making your submission clearly identifying the parts of your submission you want to remain confidential and the reasons why. In this case, your submission will not be published to the extent of that request.

Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.

The Department will not publish, in whole or in part, submissions containing defamatory or offensive material.  If your submission includes information that could enable the identification of other individuals then either all or parts of the submission will not be published.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and confidentiality

Information provided to the Government may be provided to an applicant under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI). If you have indicated that you wish all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, your statement detailing the reasons may be taken into account in determining whether or not to release the information in the event of an RTI application for assessed disclosure.  You may also be contacted to provide any further comment.

Final Terms of Reference

Independent Review of the Response to the North-West Tasmania COVID-19 Outbreak

Purpose

An Independent Review will consider the actions, and effectiveness of those actions, taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North-West Tasmania by government agencies, public and private health care facilities, and other relevant authorities.

The Terms of Reference for the Review are:

1. The chronology and response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North-West Tasmania including but not limited to:

i. the public health and health system preparedness for the outbreak;

ii. the entry and spread of the virus in North-West Tasmania;

iii. the efficacy of decisions and actions, with respect to identification, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine for cases or potential cases in the North-West;

iv. timelines and effectiveness of communications to hospital staff, the local community and private sector health service providers; and

v. access to, training for and use of Personal Protective Equipment.

2. The effectiveness of directions, notices, orders and regulations made under the Emergency Management Act 2006 and the Public Health Act 1997, in respect of the North-West.

3. The effectiveness of state, regional and local response, control, communication and co-ordination arrangements, including agency interoperability, and the co-ordination of activities with government and non-government organisations, including Public Health Services, the Department of Health, the North West Regional Hospital and the Mersey Community Hospital.

4. The timeliness and effectiveness of closing the North West Regional Hospital and the North West Private Hospital in Burnie, and the impact on other health and related facilities.

5. Any other matter relevant to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the North-West that the Reviewer identifies in the course of Review activities as warranting investigation and discussion.

6. The Reviewer will:

i. provide an opportunity to persons with a proper interest in the subject matter of the Review to make submissions about that subject matter and, if thought necessary, to be heard personally in relation those matters;

ii. ensure that where necessary appropriate confidentiality arrangements are made for persons assisting the Review; and

iii. ensure the lived experience of North-West Coast patients diagnosed with COVID19 and those placed in quarantine are taken account of.

An independent person of eminent standing and experience will conduct the Review. A working group will be established in conjunction with, and to advise, the Reviewer with at least public health, hospital administration, and public sector administration experience.

The Review will commence in mid July 2020.

The date for submissions and or consultations will be determined by the Reviewer.

The Final Report, including findings and recommendations, is expected to be delivered by the Reviewer by the end of October, subject to the spread of COVID-19 over that timeframe and possible impacts on the availability of personnel.