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Health Minister Ferguson Still Blaming Others for Emergency Department Chaos

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Tags: Health, Launceston General Hospital, Emergency Department, Nurses


The public record states that 9 out of 11 specialists from the Launceston General Hospital's Emergency Department have resigned.  We have been told that the last two will be leaving as well, and that six senior nurses are cutting back due to lack of professional support.  You know the system is crumbling from lack of resources, but you still signed off to give it less funding next year, effectively cutting the heart out of your own local hospital.  How are you going to achieve the commitment you made in March to fix your broken health system, alleviate pressure on emergency departments, and free up beds?



Madam Speaker, I thank you to the member for her question.  I note the concerns in her question and I am also concerned about all of our health system.  I acknowledge your description of the broken health system that we inherited.  Thank you for acknowledging that the health system that this Government inherited was indeed broken.

As I go around our health system and receive reports of issues that continue to persist across our health system, emergency department care is one of those where we have a special focus.  I also would like to point out to the member that I am advised that, apart from the usual turnover of staff, there have also been retirements and reduction of hours and movements to other facilities. 

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The minister is attempting to address the numerous questions contained in the question.

Mr FERGUSON - The CEO and management are paying particular attention to supporting care of patients at the LGH.  The member raised the matter of nursing and resources.  We are providing additional resources to our emergency departments.  In just two weeks time, when the new financial year starts, there are extra resources for emergency care.  To suggest that there are fewer resources is misleading the House.  We have been there, have we not, Ms Woodruff?

There are additional resources.  It is also not just about money.  It is about the leadership and support that should be provided to our staff.  The THS emergency medicine specialists and their director at the LGH are working with the THS management to respond to these changes and also to assist us with future recruitment.  We are all keen to improve hospital-wide care at the LGH and ensure that existing patient safety levels are not diminished in any way.

A number of meetings have occurred with staff flagging their intention to resign, and the THS executive is working with them to assess whether any barriers to their continuing to serve our patients at the LGH can be overcome.