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Data reveals the extent of Tasmania’s health crisis

  • Mental health patients forced to wait six days in emergency
  • Waits of almost four days at the LGH
  • Premier and Health Minister blind to the health crisis

Two separate sets of data highlight the extent of the crisis in our hospitals.

Questions on Notice from Budget Estimates revealed that mental health patients have had to wait up to six days in Emergency Departments at the Royal Hobart Hospital and four days at the Launceston General Hospital.

The question on notice was:

What is the longest period a mental health patient has been waiting in any ED?

The answer from the Liberal Government was:

  • Royal Hobart Hospital 8503 minutes (5.9 days)
  • Launceston General Hospital 5464 minutes (3.79 days)
  • Mersey 2300 minutes (1.59 days)
  • North West Regional 1868 minutes (1.29 days)

Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said the statistics were damning on the Liberal Government, Premier Hodgman and Health Minister Ferguson.

“There are access block problems causing mental health patients to spend far longer than they should in the emergency ward – among the worst possible environment for them to be in a time of crisis,” Ms Lovell said.

“People who have hit rock bottom and seek out help should expect to be cared for.

“They should not have to wait for up to six days to get out of emergency.

“It is a disgrace.”

Now the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine has revealed deteriorating and unacceptable access block and overcrowding, with patients in Tasmania among the most at risk.

Ms Lovell said it was time for Premier Hodgman and Health Minister Ferguson to admit there was a health crisis and start listening to those at the front line.

“The only people in Tasmania who won’t admit there’s a health crisis are the Premier and the Health Minister – they need to listen to front line workers and senior clinicians, who are all on the same page.

“The Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Hobart Hospital Medical Staff Association and the Australia Nursing and Midwifery Foundation are all calling on the Premier and the Health Minister to stop what they’re doing and listen.

“Nurses and midwives are taking industrial action after months and months of asking the Health Minister to listen.

“If the Premier and Health Minister won’t listen to what the real problems are, then the health crisis will never be fixed, and will only get worse.”