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A negative RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) 

Please note: To all my family, patients and physio colleagues, this blog is not to get sympathy or make you all worry about how things are in my camp. Do not stress about me. But I am taking it upon myself to see if everyone in small business is feeling exhausted and a trifle fed up with 2022. After all it is only February and there hasn’t actually been a day when the words COVID, RAT or WTF have not been uttered! It is also a continuation of me diarizing these extraordinary times, so that when I am (really) old, I can look back and read what (the hell) happened during the  COVID19 Great Pandemic.

This blog is actually a plea on behalf of us all running small businesses to our political leaders, both State and Federal, to think seriously about providing a financial support package for Small Businesses to ease the burden that the Omicron wave is causing. 

(I will pause for a minute to send some rude, derogatory text messages to a few people……..nah just joking. I’ve got no time to do that. Tonight I’ve got to write this blog, wash the work laundry and read intake forms of the patients I am seeing tomorrow). 

I called this blog the Year of the RATs – not because there are a few RATs in the Government camp even though there seem to be just that (how DO they get the time to play all these games?)- but because I’ve never actually used the word RATs so often in my life before. 

As everybody knows now a RAT stands for Rapid Antigen Tests and these have been the literal Hen’s Teeth of the 21st Century. Unbelieveably, I had a moment (an epiphany) when I was sitting on the beach on the first day of my holidays on 15th December, 2021, two days after Queensland opened the state border,that I should see if I could source some RATs for my practice. When they arrived the next day, I felt like I’d won The Hunger Games.

It did feel a bit like I was cheating or had some Insider Trading knowledge because I was very well aware of the significance of RATs from my daughter and her husband in London. They had been supplied with them for free through pharmacies in London since April, 2021 – as many as they want in fact. They used them if they developed a sniffle, if they had to attend a netball game to play or work at (Sophie plays netball, Jimmy does the video-ing of the Pulse Netball Team) or if they needed to travel to Europe. They were bewildered by our situation here when they came out to Australia at Christmas. They were actually a bit bored by our numerous RAT conversations to be honest. 

So far we have ripped through those 25 RATs in first week back in early January and we are steadily working our way through many more as Omicron works it’s way through the community. They are very expensive (although they do look like something that my grandchildren put together at Preschool), as is everything else that is required in a pandemic. I have written about this before. But what is costing an arm and a leg is the furloughing of staff and the constant rescheduling of patients. Without physios, there is no income. 

This is why I cannot understand why there are no financial packages for small business in Queensland. NSW and South Australia have come up with something (all-be-it without Federal input). A grant or financial package would give recognition to the owners of the many small and medium sized businesses, that this current wave of Omicron is having a devastating effect on the financial well-being of the businesses and a very wearying effect on both the owners and the staff running the businesses.

Today I was reading a couple of physio business Facebook pages where many owners are asking multiple questions of others – What are you doing when staff get the second round of Omicron? (OMG they’re getting a second round of Omicron four weeks after they’ve had it ????) What about this situation when so-and-so has this issue? They were confused with the rules and they sounded tired. 

My plea to our Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk (who did an incredible job of keeping us safe for nearly two years) is: ‘Can you please put together something – you’ll have to do it alone because our Federal leaders are intent on spending it on tanks and subs and the upcoming election’. 

Now finally I am going reveal one of my recent text messages…… and it’s something I never thought I would have to write:

It reads (in case you can’t read the fine print): Hi T, RATs in the letterbox. Sue xx 

Stay healthy, get your boosters and good luck to everyone.

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