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ACEM Emergency Report Terrible – EDs Even Worse Now

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Tags: Health, Health Crisis, Emergency Department

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

An Australasian College of Emergency Medicine report of emergency departments shows Tasmania had the nation’s worst outcomes during 2016-17 to 2020-21. Since that time, things have become so much worse in our EDs that even a return to the terrible results in ACEM’s report would be a welcome ‘improvement’.

During 2020-21, ACEM record only 23% of admitted patients spent less than four hours in emergency, and it took 22 hours and 33 minutes until most (90%) of these patients were admitted. These results are significantly worse than any other jurisdiction in Australia*, and desperately behind the recommended clinical standard.

ACEM’s findings show the truly appalling state of our hospital system. The facts mock the Liberals’ 2018 election promise, which conned Tasmanians into believing their government would ensure 90% of people attending EDs would leave within four hours by 2022.

Since ACEM collected the data for their report, the situation in Tasmanian emergency departments has declined even further. The government’s own statistics show August and September this year had the worst rates ever recorded for patients leaving EDs within four hours. This is despite the number of Tasmanians attending ED to 30 September being lower than it was in the previous year.

It’s starkly obvious our health system has passed its breaking point, with more people placed at risk each year. Despite this, Health Minister Rockliff has done nothing to address the fundamental lack of investment in health services.

As emergency department outcomes continue in rapid decline, Premier Rockliff keeps telling Tasmanians everything is under control. The Premier should endure 22 hours or more as a patient or worker in ED, and tell us whether he still holds the same view.

There’s no single magic solution to fix health in Tasmania, but even so there’s much more that can be done. Rather than taking the reins as Premier and making the ambitious investment shift we need for a functioning health system into the future, Jeremy Rockliff is continuing the Liberals’ eight year trend of chronic health underfunding and prioritising stadium investments instead.

*The next worst result for the percentage of admitted patients admitted within four hours was 32% in the Northern Territory. The next worst result for the time taken for 90% of patients to leave the ED was 15 hours and 25 minutes in NSW.