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Ferguson Left Hospitals Under-Resourced, Running on Empty

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 10 October 2016

Tags: Health, Hospitals, Bed Block, Nurses

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, was continually warned that the current resourcing of general admission wards at the Royal Hobart and Launceston General hospitals is far short of what was needed to cope with the winter patient burden.

Minister Ferguson ignored nurses, doctors, infectious disease specialists and health economists' warnings about the flu season and winter rush.  The state's hospitals are running on empty and he's claiming that's business as usual.

The Health Minister's claim he is using 'code reds' under the existing notification system as a “deliberate strategy” to deal with the chronic bed shortages is dangerous.  Running Tasmania's hospitals above capacity isn't a strategy, it's mismanagement.

Minister Ferguson refuses to keep the required wards open and staffed, and only agrees to open them when staff call a critical emergency meeting. This is a dangerous way to run a hospital system.

Emergency Department admissions are increasing by about 5% every year, but the Health Minister has budgeted for less than what was spent last year.  Tasmania's hospitals need more funding, not less.

Accepted, modern best-practice for hospitals is to run at 85% capacity.  This has been proven to be the cheapest in the long-term, and far better for patient safety and staff conditions.

Running hospitals on red alerts is unacceptable and puts patients at risk.  

Instead of running the Tasmanian public health system into the ground, Minister Ferguson needs to provide the funds that hospitals and patients need.