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Hospitals reach crisis point as government still refuses to listen

  • Royal Hobart and Launceston General under unprecedented pressure
  • Outpatient waiting lists continue to spiral
  • No action from government despite on-going pleas from frontline staff

Tasmania’s hospitals are under enormous and growing strain as the Hodgman Government continues to ignore health professionals whose pleas to the Health Minister to increase resources fall on deaf ears.

Shadow Health Minister Rebecca White said the situation at both the Royal Hobart and Launceston General Hospitals has reached a true crisis point.

“Under Health Minister Michael Ferguson, Tasmanians have never seen their hospitals under such unprecedented – and unnecessary – pressure,” Ms White said.

“Tasmanians have never seen a situation where frontline medical staff are taking the serious step of speaking out so they can be heard because Minister Ferguson refuses to listen.

“Medical staff and patients have been badly let down by Mr Ferguson who has ignored many months of warning that the Royal Hobart Hospital was headed toward a chronic bed shortage.

“Both the Royal and the Launceston General Hospital are now seriously under-resourced and despite what is clear to everyone who works in the system and to patients, Mr Ferguson continues to ignore them.

“Clinicians are speaking up on a daily basis to warn the Government about serious problems within the hospital system.

“More and more staff members at the LGH are actively warning the government about the enormous pressure the hospital is under including today when they have slammed the lack of services available for Tasmanians living with diabetes.

“The Hodgman Government made enormous promises to the Tasmanian people about improving our hospital system but things are going backwards.”

Ms White said information from the government’s latest health statistics update reveals the outpatient waiting list continues to grow both at the LGH and the RHH.

At the LGH between October 2015 and September 2016 the outpatient waiting list grew by 1489 patients to 11,266 – an increase of 15 per cent over the 12 month period.

At the RHH between October 2015 and September 2016, the outpatient waiting list grew by 876 patients to 15,022, a six per cent increase.

RHH waiting times for outpatients continue to increase.  Across all categories there has been a 39-day increase over the past 12 months taking the waiting time up to 424 days

“Mr Ferguson needs to act once and for all,” Ms White said.

“It’s not good enough to say things will change in the coming weeks. Staff and patients by now fully understand that is typical of Mr Ferguson’s all-talk no-action style and they require action today.”