Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for HEALTH, Mr BARNETT
Ambulance ramping times at emergency departments are through the roof and patients have been told to stay away. Today there is the story of a patient in emergency who witnessed the death of another patient near by them in the hallway. We have been contacted about an elderly woman with delirium and severe medical issues who was discharged undiagnosed; staff threatened to put her into a taxi if she was not picked up immediately.
ABC radio heard from patients in oncology wards who had letters from a senior bureaucrat slipped under their dinner plate, telling them to find their own alternative care options pronto.
Your Government is penny-pinching in health at the same time as you are backing a high school stadium report that has called funding into the health system a 'dead weight'.
Do you even care what is happening to Tasmanians? If you do, show them. Will you initiate crisis talks with unions and organise an urgent injection of funds to respond to this crisis?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. In fact, there are a whole range of questions there, and I will address them in turn.
First, I say that any unexpected death in our hospitals is a tragedy. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. As a matter of urgency, I have taken advice about the instance referred to by the member. The department advised this morning it has no record of an incident such as the one reported by the ABC this morning occurring on that day and at that time.
The member also made reference to the letter discussed on ABC Mornings. With respect to what happens in our hospitals, that is an operational matter, and a very important matter.
Dr Woodruff - No, that is your responsibility. You are the minister.
Mr SPEAKER - Order. Please allow the minister to complete his answer.
Mr BARNETT - As minister, I put faith in our clinicians, and in our health workers - unlike the other side, who have attempted to undermine. I am making the point that these decisions are for our clinicians and we put faith in that. It should be based on evidence and advice, and at all times based on best practice.
I make it very clear that I applaud our hardworking healthcare workers. We will do everything we can to support them - unlike the other side who are scaring Tasmanians and undermining confidence in the community. It is a great shame that they are doing that. I am going to call it out for what it is: an unfair attack on our healthcare workers. As minister, I will not put up with seeing the Leader of the Opposition go on social media and publicly promote the undermining of our health system, because it is wrong. They are undermining our health system, and it is wrong, because it reflects on our healthcare workers. They are awesome and I will not fall for it.
Ms WHITE - Point of order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 45 on relevance. The question is about a very serious issue, that of ramping. I do not think the minister is dealing with it.
Mr SPEAKER - I will take the point of order, but I am not going to take any arguments along with that. As I have just said, if members have a problem with what has been stated and believe there is another side of the story, then they have other forms of the House to provide that to the House. The minister will be heard in silence.
Mr BARNETT - Thank you, Mr Speaker. They do not like to hear the truth. I call on the Leader for the Opposition to withdraw and pull down her Facebook post and apologise to the community for it.
Dr WOODRUFF - Point of order, Mr Speaker, Standing Order 45 on relevance. The minister is not addressing the question I asked.
Mr SPEAKER - Order. We are on a time-limited debate. That is the second point of order. I will allow the minister to conclude in the last 15 seconds, please.
Mr BARNETT - They are taking up my time to answer the question with unfair interjections. I am making a point that we are backing our clinicians to make the decisions that are right for our hospitals and patients. We put patients at the centre. We are about making a positive difference. We back our healthcare workers and we take on board their advice. We back them 100 per cent.