Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson
The Health Minister's response to the damning expert report into the Launceston General Hospital has been to open 3 single bed rooms and dress up 12 beds that have been in use for a year as “new”.
There are no new beds being funded for medical inpatients at the LGH. Minister Ferguson has simply lifted the axe that’s been hovering over 12 beds and staff currently in operation in ward 4D.
The 12 beds in Ward 4D were opened “temporarily” a year ago, after chronic bed block at the LGH caused a series of disastrous events in the emergency department.
Today's announcement is just Michael Ferguson trying to distract from the core governance and organisational problems his expert review recommended he fix six months ago.
The news Ward 4D won't be closed is welcome, but the LGH's overarching cultural and organisational issues raised in the expert report remain.
Michael Ferguson was handed the expert report on the State's hospitals last August, and did nothing for six months. He only released the report following a Right To Information request from the Greens.
Despite departmental estimates the LGH emergency department would see an increase of 3% in patients this year, the Health Minister signed off on a statewide 5.7% emergency department budget cut this year. It’s no surprise the LGH experiences chronic bed block.
The Health Minister must announce the timeline for implementing the expert report's recommendations. Addressing those issues wouldn't need a large injection of funds, just Ministerial leadership, vision and the involvement of staff who work with patients.