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Crisis in Health Continues to Deepen

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 2 February 2023

Tags: Health Crisis, Health, Hospitals, Ambulances, Ambulance Ramping, Elective Surgery

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

New Report on Government Services data about healthcare in Tasmania shows a system that continues to deteriorate, and highlights the need for an ambitious response from the Rockliff Government. 

Key Tasmanian data from the Productivity Commission report includes:

  • - Ambulance response times have continued to slow
  • - The number of emergency presentations to EDs seen on time declining from 72% in 2018 to 49% - now the worst rate in the nation. The rate is even lower for Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
  • - Three quarters of patients admitted to hospital from EDs waited more than four hours
  • - The longest wait times for elective surgery
  • - An increase in the rate of Urgent elective surgery patients who have extended waits

For Tasmanians who have needed elective surgery, called an ambulance, or had to go to Emergency, these appalling results would be no surprise. Higher risks and poorer outcomes for patients have become the distressing norm.

Healthcare staff are missing annual leave, working double shifts, doing endless overtime hours, and juggling more patients and other responsibilities than ever before. But these inspiring efforts are not enough to compensate for the Rockliff Government’s continued refusal to do what it takes to improve health in Tasmania or his ongoing denial about the impacts Covid is having on the existing burden.

As evidence of the health system’s deterioration mount, the Premier and Minister for Health has responded with a number of piecemeal investments and minor announcements. These are welcome, but not anything like the ambitious health agenda required to make a real difference.

With the crisis in health getting worse every year, you’d think a substantial refocus and investment in this most important issue for Tasmanians would be the Liberals’ number one priority. Instead of increasing health funding, they are bending over backwards to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into building an unnecessary sports stadium.

If the Premier is serious about health, he needs to get real about the investment needed to make a difference.

With Premier Rockliff’s first budget upcoming, it’s up to him to make sure he prioritises the staff, services, and space Tasmanians need for a functional health system.