From Saturday, May 13, NSW will move away from the current PCR testing for Covid, in line with changes already in place across all other Australian states and territories.
The finer details as to how the Far West Local Health Department (FWLHD) will implement this in the coming weeks is yet to be determined, with the department telling the Truth they are seeking more detail.
While PCR testing will still be available via request by a medical or nurse practitioner at private pathology services with a referral form, Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said RATs are a more convenient and appropriate form of testing.
Minister for Health, Ryan Park, said there’s been a slight reduction in demand for PCR testing since January, driven by factors such as health recommendations, testing behaviour, and increased access to rapid antigen tests (RATs), and says the new model will. “support the current and future needs of the community”.
NSW will continue to provide free access to RATs through health facilities, non-government organisations, local councils and Service NSW centres. Priority access to RATs for groups most in need, including Aboriginal communities, aged care and disability sectors, CALD communities, and rural and remote populations, will be a focus for Mr Park.
“I want to essentially flood NSW with rapid antigen tests so that the availability is easy and accessible for everybody, not just the few,” says Minister Park.
“I’ve made that clear that that is a priority of mine. I know Dr Chant is already progressing a lot of this and I’m very pleased with that, but that has to be a focus of NSW Health going forward.
“We need people obviously, to start to do and use those rapid antigen tests. I’ve got a responsibility, [NSW] Health’s got a responsibility, to do all we can to make them available and as affordable and accessible as possible.”