Border restrictions easing, but government has no plan for hospital preparedness

Tasmanian Labor
  • Minister must confirm if LGH ED negative pressure room works
  • A letter from doctors raises serious concerns about patient safety
  • Vital gap in the LGH COVID safe response
  • Sarah Courtney has failed to confirm whether a vital
    component of the Launceston General Hospital’s COVID safe response is operating

    Labor Member for Bass Michelle O’Byrne said despite
    comments made by Sarah Courtney in Parliament today, staff at the LGH say the
    negative pressure room in the emergency department still doesn’t work.

    “Doctor’s at the LGH last week wrote to senior
    management detailing their serious concerns about patient safety, and one of
    the matters they raised was that the negative pressure room at the LGH ED
    wasn’t working,” Ms O’Byrne said.

    The letter stated:

    “We need to be prepared for future waves, or a future
    pandemic. Our ‘fast-track’ area was designed to be a negative pressure
    ward. This does not work.”

    “Negative pressure rooms are an integral component of
    a COVID safe response when people arrive at an emergency department, particularly
    so people with respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sneezing can be
    separated to reduce risk to others.

    “Staff at the LGH say the negative pressure room in
    the ED does not work because of a broken fan, and that in fact, this has been
    the case for the entire period of our COVID-19 response.

    “In Question Time today, the Minister ignored the
    specific question and spoke about a different negative pressure room in the

    “Tasmanians need to have confidence that our hospital system is well-placed to respond safely to any cases of COVID-19 in our community. A critical part of this is the capacity to manage emergency department presentations appropriately.”

    Michelle O’Byrne MP

    Labor Member for Bass

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