31/03/2020 | Steven Marshall MP | Stephen Wade MLC

Vending machines to supply Personal Protective Equipment to frontline hospital staff are being trialled before being rolled out to State’s hospitals to help safeguard access for those who need it.

Premier Steven Marshall said the protection of healthcare staff and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority of the Government.

The effective and safe use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is paramount.

“This is another part of our strong plan to ensure our health system is prepared for the potential impacts of coronavirus,” Premier Marshall said.

“South Australia’s health professionals are heroes of our efforts to combat COVID-19 and it's vital that we look after those who look after us.

“PPE is in high demand across South Australia, as it is in health care systems around the world, so we need to implement creative and new strategies to help us manage the demand and supply.

“It’s fantastic to be able to partner with another local company, Benleigh Vending Systems, to develop innovative ways to respond to the pandemic.”

The vending machines are expected to be located at Flinders Medical Centre by the end of the week and the trial will be monitored by the other Local Health Networks.

Another dozen will be ready to roll-out shortly pending requests from other LHNs.

They will be activated by a sticker put on appropriate staff security passes which can be swiped at the vending machine.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said introducing the vending machines will help to ensure the supplies are going to where they are needed.

“These vending machines are an innovative measure to help ensure efficient use of PPE and provide real-time data on supply and demand on usage, so we can ensure timely distribution to where they are needed,” Minister Wade said.

“Health professionals and the community should feel confident that we are continuing to look at innovative ways to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and protect South Australians.”

The vending machines will be tested and trialled before being rolled out to Local Health Networks that request them.”

The vending machines are among a suite of measures being rolled out to support health staff on the frontline including a “‘heroes’ hotel” for doctors, nurses, SA Ambulance and other medical staff at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the vending machines, SA Health has also partnered with Adelaide-based company Detmold to source ten machines to manufacture 45 million N95/P2 medical respirator and Level 3 barrier protection surgical masks for use in South Australia.

SA Health’s Chief Nurse and Midwife, Jenny Hurley, said it’s important that PPE was reserved for frontline staff treating patients who are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“PPE should be used within the recommended guidelines by health professionals, while community members can do their bit to stop the spread by practicing social distancing, washing hands regularly and following the latest advice,” Ms Hurley said.

“If we all do our part, we can help ensure South Australia is well placed to provide a sustainable and effective response to coronavirus and ensure our community continues to reap the benefits of world class healthcare.”