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Urgent Action Needed on Ramping Crisis

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 1 July 2022

Tags: Health, Health Crisis, Ambulance Ramping, Ambulances

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader   

A newly published Victorian study highlighting the harm caused to patients by ambulance ramping has important implications for Tasmania. It demands a commitment and meaningful response to ramping from the Liberals.

This study is the first major work nationally to examine the harm ambulance ramping can do to patients, rather than its effect on the health system. It found when patients are ramped for more than 17 minutes, they are at greater risk of both death and reattendance to the hospital within 30 days.

Alarmingly, it also found ramping may have been associated with 70 or more preventable deaths in Victoria in 2018 alone. 

This study might be Victorian, but the implications for Tasmania are clear. We have an older, sicker, and more vulnerable population than Victoria, and ambulance ramping has reached new levels of crisis. 

Ambulance Tasmania chief Joe Acker told Budget Estimates last month March 2022 was the “highest month ever” for ramping levels. 

Figures requested by the Greens show one in three patients arriving at the Royal and the LGH are now ramped for more than 30 minutes - a dramatic increase from just three years ago. Disturbingly, the average wait time for those patients who are not seen within 30 minutes is over 2 hours at the Royal, and close to 2.5 hours at the LGH. 

While the Liberals have plenty of excuses for the devastating problems in health, the simple fact is they’ve ignored the severity of this issue for the nine years they’ve been in government. Tinkering at the edges will not solve this problem - we need a massively increased investment to urgently tackle the staffing and capacity issues in health. 

The Liberals found the money to give a huge tax break to Federal Group, to allow mining companies to enjoy the lowest royalty rates in the nation, to give $40 million in taxpayer funds to the racing industry every year, and to dish out millions more through election pork barrelling. 

Why can’t they find the money to fix the health system?