Dr WOODRUFF question to MINISTER for HEALTH, Mr FERGUSON
The legacy of your five-year health leadership so far has been a failure to listen to the people most responsible for the welfare of patients, the doctors and nurses. The train wreck of the consequence that has resulted is before us. We have had this five-page letter from registrars at the emergency department of the Royal Hobart Hospital, an excoriating letter to the hospital executive detailing their gravest concerns about the failures of your hospital system. In their words, they will no longer be complicit in providing substandard patient care and an unsafe work environment. They have a list of 18 achievable and practical changes they say must be made to stop the daily damage to patients and staff now. Will you accept all their recommendations? Are there any ones you will not accept, and when will you let them know your answer?
Madam Speaker, I only disagree with one part of Dr Woodruff's question, and it is politics she is playing there. We do listen to our clinicians.
Mr O'Byrne - Anyone who raises a legitimate question is playing politics.
Mr FERGUSON - We have heard enough from you.
To Dr Woodruff, I say we do listen.
Mr FERGUSON - The interjecting has been incessant. That is the problem over there. You have not stopped.
Ms White - We are mad at you. We are mad on behalf of the people.
Dr Woodruff - We have had letters like this before.
Mr FERGUSON - Dr Woodruff, every initiative we have done as a Government has been on the advice of expert clinicians. We understand the value of listening. We are making investments on expert advice. The best example of that would be the masterplan of the Royal Hobart Hospital. There were many opinions very stridently put forward about what the future of the Royal should be. In fact the Labor Party was very strident and made demands on the Government - 'Do this, do this' - but on the expert advice of bringing people together, which is exactly what the clinical planning taskforce did, we had the opportunity to have a fresh look at what the Royal should be over the coming years. We came up with a plan that is supported by the clinical community, including good people who have been good enough to say that now they have seen all the evidence that they see their idea was not the best idea. By working together we get solutions.
I welcome the fact that the registrars at the Royal have put forward their deep-seated concerns and their suggested solutions. We need more of that. I have spoken with a number of the registrars and have endorsed their action in writing to their executive; that is thoroughly professional and to be commended. I have thanked them for doing that because they have concerns. I share those concerns.
I will assure you, Dr Woodruff and this House, that the Government is supporting the THS and the Royal executive specifically to look closely at the proposed solutions. It is exactly that kind of thinking we need.
To their great credit, the Emergency Department of Registrars is not looking for great wads of cash to do another bandaid solution. That is exactly the professionalism I endorse.
Dr Woodruff - Will you accept them? Are there any you won't accept?
Mr FERGUSON - I won't do that today in that way but -
Dr Woodruff - You have had this for two weeks now.
Mr FERGUSON - I will assure you that we will not be making them wait for any meeting in June before implementing more immediate solutions.