THE safety of health workers and patients in the Orange Health Service is being compromised with members of the public stealing vital medical equipment during the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
Allan Bennett, who is a security guard at Bloomfield precinct and also the Health Services Union delegate, said members of the public had been stealing gloves, face masks and hand sanitiser from the hospital.
"I'd like to tell these people that everything they take from there is everything we need to keep ourselves safe," he said.
"These things are part of what we need to protect ourselves and help fight coronavirus.
"We run the risk of bringing [the virus] home if we don't have this equipment. Please treat us and staff with respect."
A Western NSW LHD spokeswoman said while these thefts may have occurred at Orange Hospital none had been reported to the health district.
We understand the fear that exists within the community, however, we need to continue to have capacity to do our jobs.Western NSW Local Health District spokeswoman
The Central Western Daily has also been told that hand sanitiser is regularly stolen from Dubbo Hospital with some face masks also taken.
"We can confirm we have been experiencing an increased number of incidents in which hand sanitiser is being removed from the hospital by community members," the LHD spokeswoman said of the incidents in Dubbo.
"Initially we resorted to using zippy ties to secure these bottles to the end of patient beds for staff to access, however, these are now being cut and removed from bed ends.
"I can also confirm two weeks ago we had a community member walk into our facility and remove a handful of masks also."
The spokeswoman said the theft of this vital equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic compromises staff and patient safety.
"We understand the fear that exists within the community, however, we need to continue to have capacity to do our jobs," she said.
There are currently 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) with nine of them in Orange. Earlier this week a 67-year-old woman died from the virus in Orange.
Across NSW there are 2298 confirmed cases from the 110,537 tests conducted.