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Hospitals - Recommendations of Registrars

30 April 2019
Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for HEALTH, Mr FERGUSON

The legacy of your five-year health leadership so far has been a failure 
to listen to the people most responsible for the welfare of patients, the 
doctors and nurses. The train wreck of the consequence that has resulted 
is before us. We have had this five-page letter from registrars at the 
emergency department of the Royal Hobart Hospital, an excoriating letter 
to the hospital executive detailing their gravest concerns about the 
failures of your hospital system. In their words, they will no longer be 
complicit in providing substandard patient care and an unsafe work 
environment. They have a list of 18 achievable and practical changes they 
say must be made to stop the daily damage to patients and staff now. Will 
you accept all their recommendations? Are there any ones you will not 
accept, and when will you let them know your answer?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I only disagree with one part of Dr Woodruff's question, 
and it is politics she is playing there. We do listen to our clinicians.

Mr O'Byrne - Anyone who raises a legitimate question is playing politics.

Mr FERGUSON - We have heard enough from you. 

To Dr Woodruff, I say we do listen. 

Members interjecting.

Mr FERGUSON - The interjecting has been incessant. That is the problem 
over there. You have not stopped. 

Ms White - We are mad at you. We are mad on behalf of the people.

Dr Woodruff - We have had letters like this before.

Mr FERGUSON - Dr Woodruff, every initiative we have done as a Government 
has been on the advice of expert clinicians. We understand the value of 
listening. We are making investments on expert advice. The best example 
of that would be the masterplan of the Royal Hobart Hospital. There were 
many opinions very stridently put forward about what the future of the 
Royal should be. In fact the Labor Party was very strident and made 
demands on the Government - 'Do this, do this' - but on the expert advice 
of bringing people together, which is exactly what the clinical planning 
taskforce did, we had the opportunity to have a fresh look at what the 
Royal should be over the coming years. We came up with a plan that is 
supported by the clinical community, including good people who have been 
good enough to say that now they have seen all the evidence that they see 
their idea was not the best idea. By working together we get solutions. 

I welcome the fact that the registrars at the Royal have put forward their 
deep-seated concerns and their suggested solutions. We need more of that. 
I have spoken with a number of the registrars and have endorsed their 
action in writing to their executive; that is thoroughly professional and 
to be commended. I have thanked them for doing that because they have 
concerns. I share those concerns. 

I will assure you, Dr Woodruff and this House, that the Government is 
supporting the THS and the Royal executive specifically to look closely at 
the proposed solutions. It is exactly that kind of thinking we need.

To their great credit, the Emergency Department of Registrars is not 
looking for great wads of cash to do another bandaid solution. That is 
exactly the professionalism I endorse.

Dr Woodruff - Will you accept them? Are there any you won't accept?

Mr FERGUSON - I won't do that today in that way but - 

Dr Woodruff - You have had this for two weeks now.

Mr FERGUSON - I will assure you that we will not be making them wait for 
any meeting in June before implementing more immediate solutions.