Vehicle partition screens: the PPE for healthcare rides

By Megan Whelan*
Tuesday, 22 December, 2020

Vehicle partition screens: the PPE for healthcare rides

The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all spheres of society across the globe, presenting unprecedented challenges. Nonetheless, the crisis has completely changed the face of the global economy affecting all sectors, including health care. Faced by exceptional demands, the healthcare sector has seen the healthcare workforce working tirelessly to care for their patients.

This has led to key concerns regarding the health and safety of frontline health workers — including ambulance drivers and volunteers — who have a right to feel safe and be protected from harm while working. These workers must ensure the hygiene of their vehicle and patients during and following the pandemic.

While the majority of the world continues to fight the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries like Australia and New Zealand have achieved the unthinkable by containing the virus effectively.

Australia’s healthcare system is believed to be one of the best across the globe. In 2017, The Commonwealth Fund rated Australia as having the second-best health system compared with other modern countries.

Australia’s healthcare system has set a great example for many countries across the world, but is faced with numerous challenges of its own. The growing demands from COVID-19 patients, an ever-increasing ageing population and patients suffering from chronic diseases are just a few examples.

The shortage of staff within the Australian healthcare system witnessed an increased number of volunteers stepping in to help meet the growing demands and get the situation under control. In regional South Australia, there are more than 1500 ambulance volunteers in over 80 volunteer teams helping with a timely response to medical emergencies in rural areas, providing early intervention and support for patients while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance. Recently in Bendigo, there have been concerns about medical service understaffing, where single-responder paramedics were obligated to transport patients to the hospital in the front seat of an ambulance, putting patients and drivers’ health at risk.

Responding to this, the Australian Government has released an information sheet for outlining the COVID-safe measures necessary to ensure the safety of the patients, paramedics and ambulance first responders. The sheet signifies the importance of the specific personal protective equipment (PPE) while assessing and treating patients. However, in crucial moments like these, it is imperative for all healthcare rides to take extra measures to prevent the transmission of viruses amongst themselves and their passengers to avoid another wave.

Interestingly, in countries like the UK, the Ambulance Services have gone an extra mile in providing PPE such as vehicle partition screens in addition to other protective gear that includes masks, gloves and sanitisers to help keep the drivers and patients safer.

Recent months have seen growing demand for partition screens in many countries to ensure extra precaution and mitigate the risks of coronavirus infection among drivers.

The driver protector screen is a transparent sheet of plastic installed in vehicles behind the driver’s seat. It is specifically designed and manufactured, aimed at creating a safer and more effective barrier between the driver and passenger seats. The screen helps reduce the chances of transmission of any viruses or bacteria through physical contact or saliva, thus preventing the passenger from reaching into the front and other close interactions.

We are all aware of how hard the Ambulance Service and volunteers work to keep our community safe. The vehicle partition screen provides additional protection for ambulance drivers, volunteers and patients, creating safer journeys for frontline workers and patients. The installation of partition screens will help drive the healthcare sector to take a preventative attitude towards driver and patient safety as well as be compliant with health standards.

This PPE is not only essential for public safety and health, but a wise investment for the healthcare sector to continue efforts to help stop the spread of the virus in the years to come.

*Megan Whelan, Sales ANZ at Taxi Butler and Driver Bubble.

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