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Ferguson Must Address Psychiatric Care Shortage at the LGH

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Tags: Launceston General Hospital, Mental Health, Launceston, Health, Northern Tasmania

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Member for Bass

Last week the Royal Hobart Hospital Department of Psychiatric Medicine lost their RANZCP accreditation, this week the Launceston General Hospital has been left with no permanent psychiatrist, and the Registrar fully booked.

Northern mental health patients presenting at the LGH with acute issues won’t be able to be seen by a psychiatrist or registrar. These are people who are often in serious states of mental ill health.

The lack of psychiatrists means patients are unable to be treated at the LGH, and are being sent back into the community to seek help privately.  It’s unacceptable that patients, sometimes in serious mental ill-health, are being sent away from the hospital.

This is yet another example of the Tasmanian health system, under the Liberals, in crisis.

Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, was unable to provide an answer in Parliament today, after questioning from the Greens. He failed explain how the situation would be remedied, referring only to issues in Southern Tasmania.

There is an acknowledged shortage of psychiatrists in Tasmania, but importing locums from the mainland is not an answer. It’s expensive, and can seriously affect the continuity and timeliness of care for patients. 

Minister Ferguson needs to address the serious deficiency in Northern Tasmanian mental health services, as a matter of urgency. It’s unacceptable for people in acute mental distress presenting to the LGH to not be given the care they need.