News, media releases

Ferguson must explain dire situation at Mersey

·       Will Health Minister confirm cap on beds?

·        Doctors could not be clearer in their alarming warnings

Health Minister Michael Ferguson has to come clean today and tell Tasmanians in the North West if his chronic underfunding of the hospital system has resulted in a cap on inpatient beds and a freeze on staff recruitment at the Mersey Community Hospital.

Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said emails leaked to media today showed senior clinicians held urgent concerns that bed block and a directive to “cap” the number of inpatient medical beds at the hospital could lead to avoidable patient deaths.

Ms Lovell said the information also contained claims that a “hiring freeze” had left the hospital unable to recruit nursing staff.

“It’s a dire and unacceptable situation when senior clinicians are telling Michael Ferguson that they are extremely concerned about avoidable deaths because of his chronic underfunding of the health and hospital system,” Ms Lovell said.

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

“Michael Ferguson went to the state election just over a year ago promising Tasmanians a record investment in health but what has happened is the exact opposite.

“The unacceptable situation in the state’s hospitals is a symptom of chronic underfunding.

“Michael Ferguson has been exposed time and again of chronically underfunding health and that has plunged a hospital system which was already in crisis on his watch further into crisis.

“Premier Hodgman needs to give Tasmanians a guarantee that money will be reinvested back into the health system on Budget Day next Thursday.”

Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister