Covid-19 and ethical triage – a consumer forum

At some point in the near future – possibility within days – Australia will run out of ICU beds for patients critically ill with Covid-19.

When that moment comes, our medical professionals will be forced to make unenviable decisions about who will receive intensive care treatment and who will miss out.

Some states have begun developing a framework to decide how patients will be triaged but Health Issues Centre is concerned that clinical guidelines focus strongly on survivability. This means the most vulnerable groups are at greatest risk of being unable to access intensive care.

On Thursday 2 April, Health Issues Centre will facilitate an online consumer forum of experts and representatives from vulnerable groups to discuss this imminent ethical dilemma.

This may be the only opportunity for vulnerable communities to influence these life and death decisions.

Over 140 people have already registered to ensure their communities are represented on this important issue.

The voice of everyday people

CEO of Health Issues Centre, Danny Vadasz, said, “Conspicuously missing, until now, have been the voices of everyday people, those who will be most impacted by bedside decisions made in emergency rooms across the country.

“Health Issues Centre will ensure their voices are heard and the recommendations flowing from this forum inform the development of national guidelines..”

Health Issues Centre research indicates a high level of anxiety among older consumers and those with co-morbidities that they may be the first to miss out on scarce resource allocation.

“This is causing enormous fear among populations already at greater risk from this epidemic. Health Issues Centre will be consulting broadly with representatives from these various vulnerable groups to ensure their concerns are not overlooked in this conversation.”

The forum will be held from 11am to 1pm on Thursday 2 April via an online remote platform. A recording of the session will be made publicly available afterwards, along with publication of the recommendations from the session.