Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson
The report of the expert review on the State's two biggest hospitals was handed to the Health Minister last August. Armed with this information, he continued to ignore the requests of hospital staff and clinicians to fix the problems.
The report has been publicly released after the Greens sought a copy through Right to Information. If the Liberals were really putting "patients first", they would've acted on this report immediately, not kept it hidden for six months.
The situation in the State's hospitals have only got worse in the last six months. It's deplorable the Health Minister has had an expert report sitting on his desk since August, and done nothing.
The expert report identifies major organisational and governance issues within the RHH and LGH, and a culture of secrecy and a fear of public scrutiny. It's leaving hospital clinicians unable to do their job and provide the care they need to.
The report identifies the need for an agreed state-wide definition of “timely” for each phase of care. It's very clear that people are waiting too long in the State's hospitals to receive treatment.
Tasmanians suffering traumatic injury have to wait some of the longest times in the country to be admitted to inpatient wards at the LGH and RHH. Those patients are often the most in need of emergency care, and are being assessed on chairs with little or no privacy.
The report notes long waiting times, significant flow issues and overcrowding in the State's Emergency Departments. This is directly attributable to inadequate ward beds to move emergency patients into.
Minister Ferguson's $2.6 million funding announcement will temporarily ease the pain in Tasmania's hospitals, but it's not a long-term fix. This injection of funds will hopefully be enough to scrape through the tough winter season.
The additional funds announced today are welcome in the State's chronically underfunded public hospitals. Minister Ferguson has failed them by not acting on the report's findings for six months, only to front up with a bandaid solution in the lead up to the State election.