Rosalie Woodruff | Greens Leader
New Health Minister Guy Barnett must immediately commit to a real plan to tackle both the underlying causes and the dangerous effects of the ambulance ramping crisis.
The death of a woman who was ramped at the LGH for a shockingly long eight hours is one tragic example of how chronic ramping causes an unacceptable risk to the lives and welfare of Tasmanians. Disturbingly, there are many others. Under the Liberals, ramping has spiralled out of control, with 40% of ambulance arrivals now ramped at Tasmanian hospitals – a figure five times higher than it was just seven years ago.
In his investigation into this distressing death at the LGH, Coroner Robert Webster said he was “pessimistic about any progress being made on this front” because the State Government’s response to this incident was “silent about what THS proposes to do about ramping”. He also said if there wasn’t a change in approach “cases like this will continue to occur.”
The Rockliff Government knows the ramping situation is serious and rapidly getting worse, but for years they’ve done nothing meaningful to tackle this critical issue. Every day they delay making improvements is another day where scores of Tasmanians are ramped for hours on end.
We need to hear the new Health Minister immediately committing to an urgent and ambitious plan to address the root causes of ramping, including by addressing the capacity issues in Tasmania’s hospitals.
Unfortunately after nine years of Liberals neglect and under-resourcing, it’s going to take some time to turn things around. Ramping is putting people at risk right now, which is why the Minister also needs to make immediate changes to limit its dangerous health impacts.
As the Coroner pointed out, we need more hospital staff to make sure patients waiting for a hospital bed or treatment are able to get high quality care. We also need more paramedics to make sure ambulances can respond to community needs, even while far too many are stuck ramped for hours.
If the Rockliff Government doesn’t recognise how serious this situation is and commit to immediate action, they are sending a strong message to the community about their priorities, and just how little they care about Tasmanians who need critical health services.