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Ferguson must explain constraints on hiring health workers as crisis deepens

  • Senior clinicians say government has stalled recruitment as existing staff struggle
  • Health Minister must explain how gaps will be filled in over-stretched system
  • Next week’s Budget must finally address health and hospital funding black hole

Health Minister Michael Ferguson must stop hiding from alarming concerns that the Hodgman Liberal Government has instigated an irresponsible health hiring freeze at the same time emergency departments state-wide face unprecedented pressure.

Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said with senior doctors warning that a freeze on recruiting nurses was seeing the already unsustainable crisis in health deepen, Mr Ferguson needed to today either confirm the practice was happening or rule it out.

“There is clear evidence from senior doctors and from nurses that the Hodgman Government is demanding hospital departments stop recruiting desperately needed staff and plug gaps with agency staff instead,” Ms Lovell said.

“This is a case of Michael Ferguson placing an already inadequate health budget before patient safety and before the already unsustainable workloads and stress of existing staff.

“It’s not good enough for the government to say that jobs are being advertised – that does not mean they are being filled.

“And it’s not good enough for Michael Ferguson, as Health Minister, to continually hide behind spokespeople to avoid questions and avoid scrutiny on a dangerous situation that staff fear could lead to avoidable deaths.

“Will Mr Ferguson admit there has been a cap placed on staff numbers and will he confirm nursing staff are not able to be hired?

“This Minister has chronically underfunded the health and hospital system and he needs to tell Tasmanians if he intends to provide adequate funding to plug significant gaps in next Thursday’s State Budget.

“Will he provide realistic funding to finally address the crisis he has created – particularly the $100 million black hole in health funding each year – or is he prepared to let the crisis continue unabated?”

Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister