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Letter to Disability Services Minister regarding COVID support for people with disabilities

Dear Minister Crawford & Minister D’Ath,

I am writing to bring to your attention the case of Lachlan Moore, who tragically died of COVID in January 2022 as the result of inadequate COVID-19 safety measures for Queenslanders with disability. I share these concerns on behalf of constituents who have been in touch with my office, as well as the Queensland Greens Disability Working Group. 

Lachlan Moore, 28, was born with Angelman syndrome, cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and was non-verbal. It is reported that paramedics took Lachlan to Redcliffe Hospital as he was presenting with COVID symptoms including respiratory issues, high temperatures and seizures. He was deemed as a possible COVID patient however hospital staff refused to administer a rapid antigen test (RAT).  Due to Lachlan’s symptoms and underlying medical issues, disability, and his inability to verbalise his symptoms, his parents tried to advocate for a rapid antigen test to be administered. 

It is reported that hospital staff advised that Lachlan was not eligible for a rapid antigen test in-line with hospital procedures at that time. Lachlan was released from hospital a fews hours after his emergency department admission. Lachlan died later that day at home and his PCR results confirmed he had COVID.

Lachlan’s father has said they’ll never know whether the outcome would have been different if staff allowed him to stay in hospital. His case raises serious concerns of Queensland's health care system and its inadequacy to enact COVID-19 safety measures for Queenslanders with disability and protect their lives.

In your capacity as Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and the Minister for Health, I call your respective departments to take the immediate action below: 

  1. Rectify the inadequate funding and resourcing across the entire QLD public health system to ensure the safety of Queensanders with disabilities  
  2. Acknowledge how the current inadequate resourcing of the QLD public health system contributed to the death of Lachlan Moore 
  3. Collect and record data to recognise the direct and fatal impact of COVID to people with disabilities 
  4. Formal prioritising of people with disability to access vitally needed supplies, services, and supports and additional demands outlined in the Queenslanders with Disability Network and Health Consumers Queensland open letter dated 25 January 20222

Please do not hesitate to contact my office on 3724 9100 if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail.

Kind regards,

Amy MacMahon

Member for South Brisbane

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