Star Observer: Push To Revoke Mandatory Disease Testing for NSW Workers

In a recent submission by the NSW Council of Civil Liberties (NSWCCL), the Council called for the repeal of the Mandatory Disease Testing Act 2021, citing its impracticality and potential discriminatory impact within the healthcare system. On the 10th of November, NSWCCL confirmed that the NSW Ombudsman received their request to remove the Act in its entirety. 
The act was first introduced in 2022, and requires all healthcare, emergency or public sector workers who have been in contact with bodily fluids to receive a mandatory disease test. This act was implemented to protect workers from blood borne viruses (BBVs), but has been criticised for being unnecessary and further stigmatising HIV.

NSWCCL President Lydia Shelly says the forced testing is more of a constraint rather than providing protection to healthcare workers.

“This Act is a distraction from the real risks that our frontline workers are facing, and it does not address the substantial risks they face on a daily basis,” said Shelly.

Shelly also noted the concerns of staggering wages and long hours for health care workers which is causing many to leave within the industry, with 2 in 3 paramedics considering leaving the profession.

“Our unfettered healthcare crisis is a bigger risk to our frontline workers than any risks purported to be mitigated because of this Act.”

“We urge the Government to review the real risks facing our frontline workers – and address them holistically – including committing to funding the frontline workers appropriately for the valuable services they perform on behalf of our communities,” Shelly continued.


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