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Qld AIDS Council and Queensland Health dispute over free HIV testing kits
Aug29

Qld AIDS Council and Queensland Health dispute over free HIV testing kits

LAST UPDATED // Friday, 29 August 2014 13:07 Written by // Andrew Shaw

The Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) says it will run out of HIV rapid test kits if Queensland Health does not supply them soon. 

QuAC says it has not received a response from the government after making a request for free kits – a claim denied by Queensland Health. 

QuAC's new executive director Michael Scott told QP his organisation was taken off the rapid trial test in February, at which point Queensland Health stopped supplying kits.

“We were part of the trial from November 2012, then we were instructed in February that we would not have any more tests supplied to us as part of the trial,” Scott said.

Scott said one of the first things he did after taking over the job earlier this month was email the HIV Foundation Queensland and the Communicable Diseases Unit, which is responsible for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in Queensland.

“I said I’d like to access the rapid tests and I’d like that to happen quickly. I also added that I was running short of rapid tests and may have to turn people away if that’s not expedited.”

Scott said he did not receive a response.

Queensland Health Acting Director General Dr Michael Cleary confirmed that a request was received from QuAC on August 8 this year to be included in the free rapid testing program.

“Prior to 8 August, the Department of Health had not received any such request from QuAC,” Cleary said in a statement to QP.

“Since then, the Department has and continues to work as quickly as possible to process their application to be included in the program.”

Cleary said HIV Foundation Queensland does not receive or process the applications for the free rapid testing program.

“The claims from QuAC that they have received no response are false,” Cleary said.

“Tony Majer, CEO HIV Foundation Queensland, personally met with Michael Scott last Tuesday 19 August and confirmed the request was progressing with the Department. He confirmed their application was being processed ensuring the necessary accreditation and reporting processes are in place.”

Cleary said Scott had spoken with the department “several times” and had been told the doctor who made the application would be informed when a decision was made.

“All organisations that submit the request to be included in the program need to enter into a service agreement with the Department of Health which is a complex arrangement that takes due time,” Cleary said.

“These arrangements are currently progressing for QuAC and they have been kept informed of the process since the request was made.”

In response, Michael Scott said he had “seen no proof yet that anything has progressed”.

“Tony Majer does not represent the department, nor the [Director General’s] office – as far as I know, so I am uncertain why he would be the one relaying this information.”

Scott said QuAC provided 20 per cent of the state’s rapid tests within its once a week two-hour clinic.

He said the organisation was dipping into its reserves to fund the ongoing testing as well as fundraising.

“A number of people have made donations to us directly to [fund] rapid tests.”

 

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Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

Comments (5)

  • Herpesdatingnet

    30 August 2014 at 04:29 |
    nice articles bout hiv

    reply

  • Jason

    29 August 2014 at 14:31 |
    If QuAC want the government to work with them, going to the media is not the right way, this QH bashing has to stop. Questioning the work of people within QH is not ok. They are separate to the Minister and don't make the decisions.

    reply

    • Jason

      29 August 2014 at 14:54 |
      Great name Jason....however I have to totally disagree with you. The Minister and or has the final say about working with QuAC and if he was interested in working with QuAC why has he never acknowledged the work they are doing, why do they not appear on the END HIV page, why are they not listed as a rapid HIV service (even though they do just more than HIV testing). Why shouldn't they question what is going on?

      reply

  • Jason

    29 August 2014 at 12:28 |
    I still don't understand WHY they had to apply for rapid tests when they were initially part of the trial??? I am sure none of the others involved in the trial have had this much trouble receiving free rapid tests. Honestly, the Health Minister needs to get over whatever his petty problem is with QuAC and do his job properly. QuAC have been doing an outstanding job, considering they rely on the volunteer doctors and nurses, and this should be recognised by Minister Springborg.

    reply

  • Phil Browne

    29 August 2014 at 12:19 |
    I e-mailed the Health Minister roughly a year ago asking for Qld Health to provide free rapid HIV test kits to QuAC's Testing Point Clinic. While this request came from a private citizen, not representing QuAC, the Minister and/or his office were made aware of this.

    Shortly after sending my e-mail, I received a reply, confirming my request was received.

    QuAC's Testing Point clinic is achieving the aims of the HIV Foundation. QH should provide free testing kits to QuAC, as are provided to other QH sexual health clinics. This is an important public health issue.

    reply

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