- Premier has opportunity to listen where Michael Ferguson has failed
- Immediate steps proposed by Labor will support doctors, nurses and patients
- Premier must show he is prepared to work collaboratively to find solutions
Premier Hodgman has an opportunity to show Tasmanians he is prepared to step in and provide solutions to the health crisis rather than play politics on this critical issue.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Premier should agree to work toward implementing workable measures that could be put in place quickly to alleviate unprecedented pressure on doctors and nurses, other health professionals and patients.
“Labor has presented the Premier with a detailed list of actions which are readily available to the government to help ease the pressure on emergency departments, reduce waiting lists and give Tasmanians access to the health care they need,” Ms White said.
“The Premier today has the opportunity to show that he understands this issue is above politics. We must work together to ensure this crisis is addressed today, not in 12 or 18 month’s time.
“Tasmanians want leadership from Premier Hodgman. Tasmanians are rightly tired of the arrogance of Michael Ferguson who does not want to act and clearly has no intention of providing effective solutions.”
Ms White called on the Premier to work with Labor to:
- Release the full KPMG and Deloitte reports so health professionals and Tasmanians are fully informed about the current state of the health system.
- Convene statewide roundtables with the relevant stakeholders, including the AMA, ANMF, HACSU and the RACGP, to listen to the views of professionals on the frontline. These must be led by the Premier.
- Immediately commit to addressing the structural deficit in health funding identified by KPMG.
- Listen to solutions proposed by frontline staff to address bed block at the Launceston General Hospital, specifically the ANMF proposal to increase permanent capacity in wards 4D and 4K and open all currently closed beds in the Intensive Care Unit.
- Work with staff to increase capacity at the Royal Hobart Hospital to meet demand by making provision for 7-day discharge by staffing pharmacy, radiology, medical imaging and allied health after hours and on weekends.
- Dramatically ramp up preventative health measures and programs in the community.
- Reveal the plan and timeline for proposed mental health beds at Mistral Place and the Peacock Centre.
- Provide funding for capital works at Millbrook Rise to provide treatment to mental health patients as a step-down facility and provide more accommodation in communities.
- Invest in 10 public mother and baby unit beds statewide to support parents with newborn babies.
- Appoint permanent Psychiatric Emergency Nurses to help assess, care and treat mental health patients in conjunction with psychiatric support, at the LGH and the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie.
- More than 50 patients wait an extraordinary 24 hours in ED for month of October
- 90 per cent of admitted patients take almost 20 hours to get a bed
- Ferguson’s Patients First initiative not working
Tasmanians are waiting for treatment in the state’s hospital emergency departments for longer periods than any time in the past five years under ineffective Health Minister Michael Ferguson.
Shadow Health and Preventative Care Minister Rebecca White said despite Mr Ferguson’s claims to the contrary, Tasmanians were waiting for unacceptable lengths of time according to data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Ms White said in addition, information obtained by Labor also shows the time it takes for 90 per cent of admitted patients to get a bed has increased to 19 hours.
“The information shows that last month alone, there were 54 patients who spent more than 24 hours waiting in the emergency department at the Royal Hobart Hospital,” Ms White said.
“That’s an increase of 300 per cent compared to October last year.
“What’s most worrying is that these figures were compiled during a period when the hospital has access to flex beds.
“With Mr Ferguson’s much-delayed redevelopment finally about to get underway, frontline emergency department staff have legitimate concerns about the reduction in the actual number of beds available, particularly when these figures indicate that the RHH does not have enough beds currently to meet the demand.
“Just today we saw an alarming situation at the RHH with 16 patients forced to wait for over 12 hours for a bed and another seven waiting over 20 hours.
“That is not only dangerous for patient care, it represents a real danger for staff who are doing the absolute best they can to cope with a situation that Mr Ferguson continually denies is happening.
“Mr Ferguson needs to admit the situation is dire and work toward finding an actual solution.
“He needs to provide a guarantee that patients presenting to our hospital emergency departments will get the care they need on time and have access to a bed when they need one.”