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No Excuses for Record Emergency Department Pain

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Tags: Health, Health Crisis, Hospitals, Emergency Department

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The Rockliff Government has chalked up yet another terrible milestone in health, with August data showing the worst result ever recorded for time spent by patients in emergency departments. 

The newly released HealthStats data show the proportion of patients spending less than four hours in an ED has fallen to just 48% - the first time this nationally-reported KPI has ever fallen below 50%.*

Jeremy Rockliff’s usual excuse for the trouble in Tasmania’s emergency departments is that patient presentations have gone up. However, fewer people attended EDs in the year to August 2022 than in the previous year.** 

When Tasmanians need an emergency department they shouldn’t be waiting for hours on end. Despite the best efforts of health staff, more than half of patients now wait more than four hours. This is shocking. 

For close to a decade this Liberal government has ignored experts, unions and staff and failed to invest what is needed into healthcare. This new record low is the unfortunate but inevitable result of the Liberals’ neglect of the health system in the eight years since they took office. 

While the Liberals have failed to plan for and invest in the predictable long-term growth in hospital services’ demand, their planning failure is exacerbated by their resistance to deal with critical understaffing.

This is why Tasmania has dropped from the middle of the national pack on this crucial measure, to being second worst.

Until Tasmanian staff are paid on par with their mainland counterparts, we will be fighting an uphill battle to find and retain health system staff. 

With negotiations on pay and conditions currently underway with health unions, we call on the Premier to put forward an offer that will finally help tackle the chronic staffing issues in health.


*Historical data for 2011-2014 is available through the Department of Health and Human Services Your Health and Human Services Progress Charts. Historical data from 2015-2018 is available here:

From 2018 onwards, monthly data is only available by entering the HealthStats URL into The federal Report on Government Services also reports annual results. 

**The 12 months to August 2021 saw 174,448 ED presentations, while the 12 months to August 2022 saw 171,559. The three months to August 2021 saw 44,302 ED presentations, while the three months to August 2022 saw 41,860 ED presentations.